The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance
- Success in these danger fueled activities require incredible psychological and intellectual talents: great, fortitude courage, creativity, resilience, cooperation, critical thinking, pattern recognition high-speed decision-making, – – on and on, and all under some of the most extreme conditions imaginable. Researches recently coined the phrase 21st century skills to describe those myriad abilities are children need to thrive in this century, abilities not currently taught.
- American workers are not engaged or actively disengaged from their jobs. Think about this for a moment: two out of three of us hate what we do with the majority of our time. This is a crisis of Commerce, to say the least. Yet we already know where the solutions are. The other 29% of the workers have jobs that generate flow. Flow directly correlates to happiness at work and happiness at work directly correlates to success.
- When you’re pushing the limits of ultimate human performance, the choice is stark: its flow or die.
Chapter 1: the way of flow.
- He discovered that the happiest people on earth, the one who felt their lives had the most meaning for those who had the most peak experiences.
- The happiest people on earth worked hard for their fulfillment. They didn’t just have the most peak experiences, they had devoted their lives to having these experiences.
- A 10 year old study done by Mackenzie found top executives reported being up to five times more productive when in flow. Creativity and cooperation are so amplified that Greylock partner venture capitalist James Slavet, in a recent article for Forbes called flow state percentage, defined as the amount of time employees spending flow – – the most important management metric for building great innovative teams.
- Flow also had incredible yet unsung impact on our economy. When we watch a live concert or a traditional sports event, we are essentially paying to watch people in flow state. Whether it’s Kobe Bryant, Roger Federer or Jay Z they’ve put in endless hours of work so when they perform their truly in flow.
Chapter 2: the wave of flow.
- We don’t talk about it much because of the film and all the press attention that followed, explains Hamilton, but I rode two other waves that day that were bigger than the Millennium wave.
- As those electric responses occur in bursts, they create waves, technically “brain waves”, which is what the EEG actually measures. There are five major brainwave types, each correlating to a different state of consciousness. “Delta”, the slowest of the brain waves, meaning the one with the longest pauses between bursts of electricity, is found between 1 Hz and 3.9 Hz. When someone is in a deep, dreamless sleep there in Delta. Next up, between 4 Hz + 7.9 Hz is “theta” which correlates to REM sleep, meditation, insight the processing of novel incoming stimuli. Between 8 and 13.9 Hz covers ‘alpha’ the resting brain state. People in alpha are relaxed, calm and lucid, but not really thinking. It’s between 14 – 30 H z and signifies learning and concentration at the low end, fear and stress at the high. Above 30 Hz there’s a fast-moving wave known as gamma, which only shows up during binding, when different parts of the brain are combining disparate thoughts into single idea.
Chapter 3: the where of flow.
- I can take the easy way, I can sit on my ass and meditate for 2 hours to get a 15 second glimpse of the state. Or I can risk my life and get there instantly and it lasts for hours.
- Since flow is a fluid Action stay, making better decisions isn’t enough: we also have to act on those decisions. The problem is fear, which stands between us and all action.
Chapter 4: the what of flow.
Chapter 5: the flow shortcut.
- Instead, the one commonality was encouragement, a lot of encouragement. In each case, there was a parent or close relative who rewarded any display of talent, and ignored or punished the opposite. Prodigies, it seems, were made not born.
- After three decades of research it was found that the healthiest, happiest and highest performers blend the best of both worlds. The optimal time perspective combines the energy, joy and openness of presence, with the strength, fortitude and long-term vision of the future. But how to produce this blended perspective is the more important question.
Chapter 6: outer flow.
- It wasn’t intentional, that’s the first thing to know. Certainly, action and adventure athletes have found flow more frequently than most, but much of their success has been accidental. Take external triggers, our starting point. These are qualities in the environment that drive people deeper into the zone. 1 tamer example comes from office design. In recent years, as the production of flow has been deemed critical to the success of organizations, organizations have reacted by trying to design environments that produce more flow. As for requires focus, one of the first changes suggested by experts was to remove cubicle farms, those OpenOffice plans that permit constant interruptions. Interruptions that that that move us out of flow and increase research and design cycle times and costs dramatically. Studies have shown that each time of flow state is disrupted it takes 15 minutes to get back into flow, if you can get back at all.
- Next, up novelty and unpredictability. Normally, we go out of our way to avoid both. We rely on old habits, we charge our routines. And why not? Automatic pilot is efficient. Routine save the brain energy and who hasn’t driven to work without remembering the trip? Yet very the route next time. Brush your teeth with the wrong hand. He’s against the grain tricks increase novelty and unpredictability, demanding focus and pattern recognition, and both are the real goal. You don’t need a giant wave or a big mountain to trigger these responses, the brains reaction isn’t dependent on real, external information. It’s reacting to constellation of inputs from the sensory system. If you can light up that same constellations, they replace the novelty found in the natural environment with new routines in your daily life, you’ll get dopamine. This is why the flow hack of the 22nd century is going to be a button on your augmented cognitive device that lights up the same constellation.
Chapter 7: interflow
- He had uncovered the technique for triggering the mammalian driving reflex, a reflex that optimizes respiration and like dolphins, Wales and some birds allows us to operate under water for extensive periods of time. Here’s how it works: when the nurse of the human face come in contact with water, our heart beat begins to slow.
- And that brings us to the challenge / skill ratio, the last of our internal flow triggers, and arguably the most important. The idea behind the trigger is that attention is most engaged when there is a very specific relationship between the difficulty of a task and our ability to perform the task. If the challenge is too great, fear swamps the system. If the challenge is too easy, you stop paying attention. Flow appears near the emotional midpoint between boredom and anxiety, and what scientist called the flow channel, spot where the task is hard enough to make a stretch but not hard enough to make a snap.
- The first step in the flow cycle is known as struggle. Herbert Benson, the Harvard cardiologist who did much of the foundational research on this cycle, chose that name for a reason. Struggle is the loading phase.
- A profound the chemical change takes place during struggle. To amp up focus and alertness, stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline are pumped into the system.
- The next stage in the cycle is release. To move out of the struggle and interflow, you must first pass the second stage. Released means to take your mind off the problem, – as Benson says, completely severed prior thought and emotional patterns. This can be as simple as going for a walk.
Chapter 8: the we of flow.
- Solitary flow was measured against coactive flow was measured against interactive flow. Walker discovered that the more social and activity the higher flow enjoyment, the level of experience in flow was for the participants. Higher enjoyment correlates to hire motivation, of course but the same chemicals also enhance performance and improve social bonding. As a result, in group flow, spontaneity, cooperation, communication, creativity, productivity and overall performance all go through the roof. In the study of more than 300 professionals at a strategy consulting firm, the people who participated in group flow with the highest performers.
- Unfortunately, not every company is this innovative. As Sayer points out in group genius: it can be hard to find this kind of experience in large corporations, which tends to reward closing up communication, during the channels and minimizing risk. That’s why people who seek out group flow often join start-ups or work for themselves.
- Film called: the search for animal chin.
Chapter 9: the flow of imagination.
- Don’t be fooled by the danger. In action and adventure sports, creativity is always the point.
Chapter 10: the dark side of flow.
Chapter 11: the flow of next.
Chapter 12: flow to abundance