Hey there, this is Max Flow. In the following lesson we will learn how flow state becomes a personality trait ... how it feels to perceive the world through the lens of a flow personality and the clear and straightforward advantages it brings.
How does it feel to be a flow personality?
Building up a “flow personality” is based on the progressive development of flow experience ...
establishing an internal machinery of fulfillment & joy. An experience of perception that is empowering, meaningful & worthy.
State of flow breaks bonds of delusional perception of self being separated, extending one’s perception beyond borders of the body and acknowledging one as an inherent part of the whole.
It brings awareness of inner action and empowerment based upon the ability to be in command of your perception. It brings meaning, as the alignment with flow creates a feeling of being part of something larger than the separated self.
Alignment with flow brings awareness that we don’t control, but ride the flow and the flow is inevitably leading us to an optimal and joyful experience. We get ourselves tuned up with the frequency of the environment while building an important anchored feeling of the flow that is a useful tool to boost up and achieve ever deeper intensity of flow experience more frequently.
Being at one
We merge with what we are doing, which gives us the overwhelming feeling of “being at one”, one with the task at hand, one with our actions and emotions, one with everything. Everything feels connected.
In flow, or deep-focused attention, this portion of the brain is less active, so we can no longer separate self from others. Being one with the waves, being one with the mountain, being one with the surroundings, being one with the universe, as if there is no separation.
In flow we get an altered perception of time. Time can either feel condensed, two hours feel like ten minutes, or expanded, seconds feel like minutes. Researchers have found that time is calculated throughout the brain, especially in the prefrontal cortex part of the brain. That is why being in flow feels timeless, we lose track of time. So as we perform in flow and we become more subconscious in our actions, we blur out our perception of the past and the future. And in doing so we are pulled deeper into what researchers are now calling ‘the deep now’.
We are completely involved in what we are doing. We do not feel separated from our actions, we are one with our performance, our attention is focused. Part of the ability to immerse one’s self in a subject is a matter of concentration, which is not easy in today’s world, where so many things constantly stimulate us. We are focusing on the task at hand, multitasking is out.
Active flow control
The more flow is practiced the deeper and more profound the feeling of it becomes. It gives us an overwhelming sense of intentional management over the situation. It supports motivation and whatever produces flow becomes its own reward.
It means we gain an active control of the flow, that gives us a powerful sense of being able to manage our experiences and their interpretations, manage our perception in general.
By having exact step by step tools at our disposal in the form of flow trigger practices and easily applicable rules for external flow requirements, we can control, amplify and maintain the flow wave.
Have you ever experienced that in a playful, emotionally safe setting, you seem to easily manage tasks, whilst when being observed by an authority or when in competition, you fail to perform at the same level? Well, that is the negative consequence and a limitation of a competitive mind-set and over-engaged prefrontal cortex.
Neuroscience has proven, time and again, that the best learning environment is an emotionally safe one. Emerging into any task with playful approach creates a feeling of trust and creativity.
Our brain is willing to open synapses to explore the best options, to learn and then make the memory imprint.
Such a mental approach, the stay and play mode of being, produces a positive hormonal response, which you are likely to seek more often.
Contained inner critic
Mind that is overburdened with uncontrolled daydreaming cannot help but develop anxieties & fears based on playing out scenarios of the future or ponder on past experiences. It is a useful skill to a certain degree, since the brain has inherent function of keeping us alive and seek, recognize and avoid dangers. But there is a point when we start to experience negative consequences of this gift.
With modern information overload, we are spending more time in the state, where cognitive dissonances based on fear are resulting in negative & pathological combinations without an end, creating an ever looping stream of irrelevant mental clutter. In flow, our self monitoring zone is less active. We are not burdened by it and it doesn’t take up mental bandwidth, we are less critical and more positive. In flow we limit our sense of self and all of the worries and concerns drift away.
Absent or contained fear
Fear is our oldest emotion, it comes from our evolution, it’s based on survival needs, it’s a fight or flight response. Nowadays it’s more fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of losing something, fear of being judged and so on.
Fear only exists in the past and in the future. We all live with the anticipation of fear and anxieties, but fear doesn’t exist in the present moment. In the “deep now” fear is absent or contained. We are too involved to be concerned about failing. We are not thinking about failure, we just know what has to be done and just do it. We act spontaneously, without any fear. Everything seems to be going our way. By deactivating from anxiety, we now ride the flow wave in a joyful fearlessness.
Manifested characteristics of a person with flow personality
A person with flow personality will experience more flow than other type of personalities. They are more likely to show higher self-esteem and lower anxiety. They are more likely to report active commitments to their lives and enjoy everyday general activities. Flow personality individuals also report a greater sense of fulfillment and a greater sense of satisfaction in their lives and lead a fulfilling life, despite low social status or financial rewards.
They apply self-actualization, meaning they have a clear advantage in realizing the development of their talents to the fullest extent. They have a positive view of their lives and lead harmonious lives, while they need less material possessions, luxury and power of fame, because so much of what they do is already rewarding. Individuals with flow personality also have the ability to detect and utilize a challenge-skill balance when they encounter it, including a greater ability to manage the complex balance between the play of finding the challenge and the work of building the skill.
They most likely outperform non - flow prone people in any situation. They have better interpersonal relationships and greater general well-being than extrinsically motivated people. They are able to enter the flow state even while doing things that many people consider boring. The flow personality lives a fully immersed life, experiencing a deep sense of purpose.
The flow personality can also be described as having the following manifested traits:
• Persistent: A person with flow personality remains on course in spite of difficulty or conflict.
• Curious: A person with flow personality has a limitless desire to learn and discover.
• Low self-centered: When being in the flow state, the sense of self is being lost.
• Open to experience & challenges: Individuals with flow personality expand their possibilities, learn from others, adapt to new situations and adopt new ideas, so they have a higher likelihood of taking on challenges, while playing on the edge of abilities.
• Positive: People with flow personality have low fear of failure, playful approach keeps them in a positive, fearless state.
• Internally driven: People with flow personality have a high rate of performing acts for selfless reasons. They are less influenced by money, prestige or other extrinsic factors.