Most of us have had a heightened and radical experience where time slows down, specific details are enhanced, and self vanishes – what some top athletes describe as being “in the zone.” In these amplified moments of consciousness, we make connections we had missed before, hatch breakthroughs to problems that have been stumping us, and push the limits of what’s possible for human performance.
I’ve felt it hundreds of times after several hours in front of an AVID while editing my films – but I never knew there was a name for it. It’s when I put enough time in that the gifts start coming. It’s a transcendent feeling, as if I have to race to physically manifest the ideas and connections that are flowing through me. I become a conduit as puzzle pieces fly into place. Ever been there? Sometimes it just happens to us suddenly with a click, like magic; at other times we think we know how we got there…but what if we could dial it in whenever we wanted to cultivate that state of bliss and seamless productivity?
Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal, the co-founders of Flow Genome Project, have been at the forefront of discovering the triggers in order to unlock and harness these “flow states.” With wide-ranging examples from different disciplines such as the Curies’ “Eureka moment,” Einstein’s mathematical genius, Mozart’s legendary compositions as well as Michael Jordan’s wizardry on the basketball court, Kotler and Wheal have examined how major athletic competitions, scientific discoveries, and significant progress in the arts are associated with the unconscious creativity that surges out of flow states. According to Wheal, “Flow Genome Project is an interdisciplinary organization dedicated to mapping the deep science of ultimate human performance.” Kotler adds, “Flow states are defined as optimal states of consciousness. These are states where you feel your best and you perform your best.”