This chapter provides deeper insights and lessons from the Flow Hackers who were there first. It is for those of you who want to maximize flow, and feel a strong desire to use it every day. One of my favorite sayings is ‘learn from other people’s mistakes’. That’s a big part of this chapter; to help you learn from the mistakes made by Master Flow Hackers. Especially the mistakes they made further along way.
For innovation to occur, we need the courage and clarity to take well calculated risks. New discoveries are always found in the unknown. Altered states of consciousness like flow drastically effect our mode of being. Our discoveries highly depend on who we are in the moment of discovery. What better way to learn new things, than to change your state of being?
The trick is to use the right tools that work for you. Psychedelics might work really well for some people, but they can traumatize others. Therefore it’s very important to take well calculated risks.
Flow, or rather constant innovation can only work wonders when it’s a lifestyle.
Steven Kotler, a major innovator when it comes to the world of flow built his whole life around the state. He lives in an environment filled with flow triggers. He does everything he can to get more flow. Exercise, breath-work, eating properly, sleeping well, and the list goes on and on.
Successful artists, writers, action and adventure sports athletes, and many geniuses that influence the world, use tools to alter their consciousness and perception of the world. This is the difference between being the best and being the best of the best. High performers and highly successful people spend more time and money on ‘changing the channel‘. The special thing about flow, is the consistency, clear evidence of it’s workings, and positive effects. It’s not necessarily that being the best of the best is their motivation, but it’s more the fulfillment of being the best they can be.
I believe it’s our birth right to access this magical part of ourselves that is ignored or even beaten out of us in modern society.
Be water my friend.
– Bruce Lee
Don’t attach to the highs or lows of flow. What many of the greatest philosophers, artists, dramatists, scientists and geniuses found, is that the base of ‘the way‘ is right in the middle, between Awe and Terror; having one foot in ‘order‘ or in ‘that what you know‘, and the other in ‘chaos‘ or ‘the unknown‘. The yin/yang symbol portrays this perfectly, with one side symbolizing order and the other side symbolizing chaos. Having one foot in order, simply means that you can take your previous lessons with you to guide you in the unknown, or chaos, where all new things are.
This explanation was not possible without the great work of Jordan b. Peterson; a great intelectual of our time.
Pain and suffering is part of the way
In the long run this pain and suffering is well worth it. Like Jordan Peterson said, the alternative is terrible anyway, so why not do all you can to do good and make things better.
”The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.”
– David Foster Wallace
Be creative all the time
Flow Hackers often use their recovery days very creatively. They make video’s, write about their experiences, cook, play video games and have brainstorm sessions about their next projects. So, they are not just creative when they are in flow, but a lot of their time is filled with creative activities.
Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from a rough experience or even trauma. Emotional and mental flexibility are a big part of resilience. Flow deals with the high of the state itself and the low of recovery. Someone who is very resilient moves through the struggle stage and recovery stage much faster. That doesn’t mean it’s easier for them. It might be a bit easier, just because they did it before and know how to do it again. What I mean to say is that no matter how resilient you are, it still takes inner work to get through rough experiences. Any high performer in any field will tell you that in their world resilience is necessary to keep pushing and improving themselves.
Just do it!
It might sound very cliche, but it’s so true.
Growing up & risk taking
The people who are great at hacking flow often depend on high stakes games. That’s why action and adventure sport athletes are so good at hacking flow. Later in life they start to think about about the consequences, because they got married, have children and people are depending on them not to die. The question arises;
Do I sacrifice my greatest passion that gave me a reason to live?
Another, more important question is whether there are other less risky ways to get the same results. The short answer is yes, but there seems to be a big struggle, partly in the loss of intensity. The only thing these advanced flow hackers found that comes close to a good replacement of the extreme risks that they depend upon, is simply being creative. Artists take a lot of risks in exploring new territory with their mind and emotions, rather that taking physical risks.
This is why writers, dancers, musicians, public speakers, teachers, gamers, chess players, martial artists, yoga-practitioners and long term meditaters are wired for flow, just like the action and adventure sport athletes.
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