YOUR EXTRAORDINARY LIFE UNLOCKED: “The Rise of Superman.” Hacking the Flow.
Everything goes silent. Time slows down. My peripheral vision fades away. It’s the most peaceful state of mind I’ve ever known. I’ll take all the failures. As long as I know that feeling is coming, that’s enough to keep going.
All I can tell you is what I already told you: When I’m pushing the edge, skating beyond my abilities, it’s always a meditation in the zone.
This, then, is our answer. This is our mystery: a rare and radical state of consciousness where the impossible becomes possible. This is the secret that action and adventure athletes … have plumbed, the real reason ultimate human performance has advanced nearly exponentially these past few decades. The zone, quite literally, is the shortest path toward superman.
What are all these people talking about?
The in-between state. State between this world we know, and somewhere else we get to experience during those rare moment of absolute union with something bigger. Something we can’t explain. Something untouchable and yet so real. More real than our “normal” life, in fact.
When you’re in that moment, there’s no beginning and no end. It starts off where it left off. When you go to that place, there’s no time, and there’s definitely no thought. It’s just pure. You are and it is and that’s why we continually seek it out, and always search for it, and need it. We need it to feel alive and to feel complete and to bring it all into perspective — it just makes everything else fall in line, fall in place. It makes everything else tolerable.
It’s true living.
That’s where life is unlimited. The only limit is our imagination.
We can do or be anyone or anything we can imagine. The true best self.
A lot of research shows, that this is when we, humans do our best work. In that state, where we are “out of our minds”.
loss of the feeling of self-consciousness: The merging of action and awareness.
Distorted sense of time: One’s subjective experience of time is altered.
Athletes, artists, musicians, poets, businessmen, scientists, visionaries, designers, writers. And not only. That’s how we create the best possible outcome in any area of our life, professional or personal.
Our minds get still and clear.
Clear goals: Expectations and rules are discernible and goals are attainable and align appropriately with one’s skill set and abilities. Moreover, the challenge level and skill level should both be high.
Our awareness, our focus increases exponentially.
Concentration: A high degree of concentration on a limited field of attention.
Absorption: narrowing of awareness down to the activity itself.
Our abilities and performance peak.
We are capable of impossible.
We become supermen.
And it’s not some new age woo-woo talk. Nope. There is hard neuroscience behind it, describing all the neurochemical, neuroelectrical, neurobiological changes that happen in the brain during the flow, changes, that cause peak performance and accomplishing the things from the realm of impossible.
There are facilities designed to measure, track, hack the flow state that elite performers use already.
It’s a reality we live in. The next possible evolutionary step for human beings, Steven Kotler thinks. Maybe? I definitely know, that when I’m in the flow I do and create outcomes, I didn’t know I was capable of.
I don’t use any technology. Flow state, the zone is accessible to anyone and it has the potential to transform our entire life. Making it extraordinary on all levels. Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
So now the question is, how do you access it?
You want YOUR extraordinary life, right? Amazing body, flawless mind, that makes you succeed in every area of your life, happiness, well-being, all at the same time…Don’t you want to HAVE IT ALL? If not, stop reading. The information below is NOT for you, if you just want an ordinary life experience. If you are OK with existence and just not dying — skip the rest. It’s totally useless for you. You might entertain yourself with another soap opera or piece of news instead.
Most people live in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make use of a very small portion of their possible consciousness, and of their soul’s resources in general, much like a man who, out of his whole organism, should get into a habit of using and moving only his little finger.
A third and a fourth “wind” may supervene. Mental activity shows the phenomenon as well as physical, and in exceptional cases we may find, beyond the very extremity of fatigue-distress, amounts of ease and power that we never dreamed ourselves to own, sources of strength habitually not taxed at all, because habitually we never push through the obstruction, never pass those early critical points.
But if you are ready to claim an Extraordinary Life of Superman — Read on!
these experiences were profound — people were radically different on the other side. Happier, more content, significantly more fulfilled. The results were undeniable. No matter the seemingly fantastic nature of the events … they produced changes that were undeniably psychologically real.
Our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the flimsiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We may go through life without suspecting their existence; but apply the requisite stimulus, and at a touch they are there in all their completeness.
How to become a Superman.
mindset impacts emotion, which alters biology, which increases performance. Thus, it seemed, by tinkering with mindset — using everything from physical to psychological to pharmacological interventions — one could significantly enhance performance.
Flow is the rush of possibility: a product of radical neurochemical, neuroelectrical, and neuroanatomical function triggering whole-body transformation. As Devore concludes: “I really think we’re the next stage in human evolution.”
Or, to put it another way: flow is the telephone booth where Clark Kent changes clothes, the place from where Superman emerges.
Provided the right environment and the proper encouragement, it meant that everyone had a shot at perfection. It meant there were no “chosen few”.
it [the Flow] leads to growth. It is an escape forward from current reality, whereas stimulants like drugs lead backward
What causes/triggers the Flow?
How have these athletes managed to produce flow so consistently? What are the conditions that led to their success? And how can we bridge the gap between the extreme and the mainstream, importing these conditions into our daily lives?
To really achieve anything, you have to be able to tolerate and enjoy risk. It has to become a challenge to look forward to. In all fields, to make exceptional discoveries you need risk — you’re just never going to have a breakthrough without it.
Certainly, risk is needed for flow, but if you don’t want to take physical risks, take mental risks. Take social risks. Emotional risks. Creative risks. Especially creative risks. The application of imagination — one very shorthand definition of creativity — is all about mental chance taking.
A “rich environment” is a combination platter of novelty, unpredictability, and complexity — three elements that catch and hold our attention much like risk.
The last external flow trigger, “deep embodiment,” is a kind of full-body awareness.
The experience should engage our sensors a lot: touch, smell, balance, sight, intuition, hearing — the more the better.
How can we control the Flow from inside?
It’s not about the goal though, it’s about clarity: what you do, why you do it, how you do it. You have no hesitation. The simpler the better.
Direct and immediate feedback: Successes and failures are apparent, so behavior can be adjusted as needed.
Challenge should be 4 percent greater than the skills.
That’s the sweet spot for entering the Flow.
How to get in the Flow?
It’s simple actually.
Have a vision that empowers and excites you.
Expose yourself to new and unpredictable.
Embrace challenge and possible failure.
Notice the feedback.
BREATHE. FEEL. LIVE.
“An average human looks without seeing, listens without hearing, touches without feeling, eats without tasting, moves without physical awareness, inhales without awareness of odour or fragrance, and talks without thinking.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci
Dark side of the Flow.
“Every good athlete can find the flow,” continues Pastrana, “but it’s what you do with it that makes you great.”
It’s little guidance and less security. Lao Tzu, founder of Taoism, warned that a left-hand path [path of the flow] is best never begun, and once begun, must absolutely be finished.
But how to finish such a path? We have a vast gap in our knowledge. Our society has spent centuries waging war against torment. When we are depressed, we know how to fight for happiness. When we are ill, we have guidebooks toward health. When we are loveless, jobless, hopeless, not smart enough, not skilled enough, not good enough, we now have colossal industries and institutions designed to teach us to strive and seek. We have become really good at negotiating with darkness, for certain, but how much do we really know about the light?
How much do we really know about true happiness? Burning creativity? Unbridled ecstasy? As children we are taught not to play with fire, not how to play with fire. On the flow path, we are drawn forward by fire; by powerful hedonic instincts; by our deep need for autonomy, mastery, and purpose deeply fulfilled; by dizzyingly feel-good neurochemistry; by a spectrum of joy beyond common ken; by the undeniable presence of our most authentic selves; by a cognitive imperative to make meaning from experience; by the search engine that is evolution and its need for innovation; and by the simplest of truths: life is long and we’re all scared and, in flow, at least for a little while, we’re not.
What’s painfully ironic here is that flow is a radical and alternative path to mastery only because we have decided that play — an activity fundamental to survival, tied to the greatest neurochemical rewards the brain can produce, and flat out necessary for achieving peak performance, creative brilliance, and overall life satisfaction — is a waste of time for adults. If we are hunting the highest version of ourselves, then we need to turn work into play and not the other way round. Unless we invert this equation, much of our capacity for intrinsic motivation starts to shut down. We lose touch with our passion and become less than what we could be and that feeling never really goes away.
Is there a lesson here for the rest of us? Of course. There’s no way to avoid the dark side of flow. Athletes hit walls, writers run into writer’s block; executives overcommit and burn out. And the key that Rice and others have found is to embrace that suffering, to move through it, and to keep moving. This means learning to use the bad to fuel the good.
Future of the Flow.
Flow is a creation engine: it helps us pluck an idea out of imagination and bring it fully formed into the world. Tom Schaar dreamed up the 1080, then used flow to pull that vision out of his subconscious and into a material existence. There is a deep interrelationship here. Our limits are governed by flow’s ability to amplify performance as much as by imagination’s ability to dream up that performance. So asking the question “Where do our limits lie?” is another way of asking, “How far can we stretch our imagination?
Here in the twenty-first century, pretty far indeed.
There is an extremely tight link between our visual system and our physiology: once we can actually see ourselves doing the impossible, our chances of pulling it off increase significantly.
Without question, paddling fast enough to catch a possibility wave like abundance means we’ll need the most capable versions of ourselves doing the paddling. We’ll need to be better, faster, stronger, smarter. We’ll need intrinsic motivation and incredible cooperation. Our imaginations will have to be deeply engaged; our creative selves operating at their full Picasso. In other words, if we’re interested in forging a future of abundance, then we’re going to need flow.
Flow brings out the very best in us — and for certain, it’s that very best we’ll need to create a world of abundance.
It is our future that is on the line. We can harness flow and ride the wave of possibility that is abundance or we can get dashed upon the rocks of halfhearted half measures. And like the trailblazers we met in this book, for us too, it’s flow or die. “We are the ones,” Pulitzer Prize–winning author Alice Walker reminds us, “that we have been waiting for.”
To put this in different terms, the most interesting thing about an acorn is that it contains a whole oak. But the most interesting thing about a human — well, we’re not exactly sure. We do not know the full measure of what we might contain. We cannot yet leap tall buildings in a single bound, but the boldest among us are already throwing backflips off of them. And when he was hurtling through the vacuum of space, Felix Baumgartner was flying faster than a speeding bullet. So does catching the wave of abundance still sound impossible? Perhaps. But like all the athletes in this book — perhaps impossible is just the kind of challenge we’ve been waiting for. What the world needs most is Superman. What the world needs most is us.