Finding Your Flow State

What’s one thing that all professional athletes, musicians, artists, writers, and anyone devoted to their craft have in common? They have all achieved a ‘flow state’, which is difficult to relate to unless you are fully immersed in terms of what you are pursuing and truly enjoy what you are doing. The flow state is elusive for most people because they either haven’t found their passion in life or haven’t put the time in yet to get better through consistent practice or play. The flow state is a higher state of being because for a point in time, your concentration is matched with your intensity producing a beautiful result.

When you can put other thoughts or other concerns out of your mind to focus on your craft regardless of what it is, you are utilizing your full potential and will be able to achieve a better result for yourself. To outside observers, the flow state looks nearly impossible to accomplish but when you are devoted to art, to music, to sports, or to writing, the final result is nearly guaranteed because you have put blood, sweat, and tears to produce something meaningful.

To me, the flow state is the most optimal state of mind that you can be in because it requires you to be at your best and to perform at the highest level. It’s requires being in a state of movement and using your body in some way to produce an action. You are putting your energy, your concentration, and your focus into a singular goal and it’s inspiring to those people who get to benefit in some way from what you were able to produce. It’s better to be a doer than to be an observer but it can inspire others to find their flow state when you see them do theirs and to do it extremely well.

For example, I was at a popular Jazz club in Mexico City recently and the headliner was a talented Danish guitarist along with a group of local musicians backing him up on the saxophone, the drums, and the Jazz bass. Every one of them was talented at what they do and were in sync generating a group kind of ‘flow state’ that is even more powerful. The thing with a good Jazz group is that you start to yourself get into the ‘flow’ of enjoying the music and moving your body to the rhythm as well.

As someone who played trumpet for 11 years straight and enjoyed the feeling of togetherness and comradery that playing in a Jazz Ensemble can bring, it is impressive to see a group working well together and nailing their parts to achieve their flow state together. To play a musical instrumently proficiently on your own is tough enough, but to work together with different musicians to produce a catchy tune without making any mistakes is as near to a modern-day miracle as it can get.

Musicians thrive off the energy and the drive of others as well as professional athletes and even politicians. It is much harder to achieve a flow state on your own in the solitude of one’s house especially if your craft requires some sort of public attention. Writers and artists tend to be more introverted on average and don’t need the attention of others to achieve an individual flow state. However, there’s something to be said for achieving a group flow state when you’re cheering on a ruthless dunk from a professional basketball player or listening intently in an arena to a Presidential candidate’s stump speech.

People want to believe in the achievements of others, and I know that we prefer to lift each other up rather than to tear each other down. While it’s beneficial to take part in watching other people reach and show off their flow state, you should be trying to find yours every day. You will get much more satisfaction out of life when you are in that mode where you are merging with your craft whether that’s art, music, writing, sports, etc. While it’s fun to cheer others on and take part in their joy, you should always be trying to create a little bit of your own.

Intense concentration and effort is not easy to achieve, but it is extremely rewarding to put your worries and anxieties aside to focus on a singular goal that you want to achieve. It may take hours, days, weeks, months, and even years to get to where you want to be but there is joy to be found in putting away all distractions and devoting yourself to a craft that you enjoy and are able to put serious time into. Our individual potential will not be able to be achieved unless we are able to reach a flow state relating to a kind of creative or intuitive pursuit.

Do your best to try different activities out and see what you like. If you find an activity or an interest you enjoy, continue to add more time to it and you should start to see results. Don’t start to look for monetary rewards or personal fame to keep you going with this pursuit but you should be doing it for yourself primarily and for your desire to reach that state of flow where you can fully immerse yourself in the activity whatever it may be.

You should find happiness and joy in what you do and become the best that you can be at it. If you can enjoy the activity, you’ll eventually find your ‘flow’ with it and be able to do it effortlessly. While you will have a lot of frustration and stress with practicing and doing the activity, if you like it and find it worthwhile, you won’t mind the downsides when the upsides can produce such an intense ‘flow’ where you are in the zone and are able to produce a beautiful result that others will appreciate. Being able to inspire others to reach their own ‘flow state’ creates its own ripple effect allowing our society to become more creative, intuitive, and productive as a result.

Advertisements

Salzburg

img_3303img_3305img_3307img_3313img_3316img_3318img_3320img_3326img_3331img_3334img_3336img_3339img_3353img_3354img_3371

Camera: Canon PowerShot SX710 HS

Location: Salzburg, Austria

Radiohead @ TD Garden

IMG_0908IMG_0910IMG_0895IMG_0885IMG_0840IMG_0872IMG_0852IMG_0846IMG_0862IMG_0879IMG_0868IMG_0855

Camera: iPhone 8

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Explosions In The Sky

NHS1qfBoQ1icPYfxCBaAdg36652554_10160426085275262_8160391889070063616_n36728134_10160426084440262_5953606171620278272_n36692333_10160426085300262_6800878970012172288_n36664460_10160426084300262_5660578050710962176_n36706327_10160426084405262_5055160315365294080_n36786390_10160426084200262_6810809724674506752_n36628969_10160426084245262_4291888775111376896_n36634401_10160426083840262_4632043592179777536_n36632365_10160426083895262_4848645823778521088_n

CameraiPhone 8 

LocationCambridge, Massachusetts, United States

U2 at the Coliseum

gz1%tmoCT5iyFY0vdpeHUQ5O0UAF9rTo+XgJmeAcvFLAZbSvy2djTWu7%iDr36QnAwdrf0bqJBSLGR%6vb0gX6PgOqsmycqaSV6u9+4Q661fiQvIvnnjiyRaKetIWXGX5zUQPaimf7vjRsqPbVsgwzuJIgFYLrJIwZSNyyFarkjuDqsQBZauI1+cRuag8x+54m32zw7WMo0ITYQIWMk0A2BbPzUASTVIISu0SGWtXMpBtJIKdAS16nLOKITuyC+JDTiT%xLAWNLnIwdTT7KP95hr454ONAVo3IGlNWScKUNGkww5vlgAk7hvZJihQNuzSO8W7GCvdA

Camera: iPhone 8 

Location: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum (NYCB Live) – Uniondale, New York, United States

Saint Patrick’s Day Parade

IMG_2975IMG_2982IMG_2989IMG_2999IMG_3003IMG_3004IMG_3005IMG_3017IMG_3019IMG_3021IMG_3025IMG_3027IMG_3030IMG_3033IMG_3035

CameraCanon PowerShot SX710 HS

LocationSouth Boston, Massachusetts

Above & Beyond in Brooklyn

IMG_0210IMG_0211IMG_0213IMG_0215IMG_0217IMG_0219IMG_0220IMG_0223IMG_0225IMG_0226

CameraiPhone 8

Location: Barclays Center; Brooklyn, New York