The most interesting radio show I've ever done: How to access "flow states" on demand
I just got off the radio with one of America’s smartest people.
His name is Steven Kotler. I’m a huge fan of his books.
Steven can make you twice as productive. He can help you achieve more than you ever thought possible.
Even if you are rich and successful, you can learn a lot from Steven Kotler.
Steven is the bestselling author of several books. His latest is The Rise of the Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance.
You’re probably thinking, “No thanks, James. I don’t need another book about productivity and setting goals.”
This isn’t one of those lame books. This book will change the world.
This book isn’t about doing more things you think you should be doing.
It’s about doing things you had no idea you could do.
It’s about accessing parts of your brain and body you don’t even know exist.
You know the cliché that we only use a tiny part of our brain’s full capacity?
Steven’s book provides clear instructions on how to access that huge untapped capacity. You can use it to make a lot more money, become smarter, be a star athlete, and just about anything else.
Steven figured out these instructions by studying the world’s top experts on the subject: extreme sport athletes. These are the people who jump off cliffs, surf 100-foot waves, and ride bikes down mountains.
It turns out, extreme athletes are better at accessing untapped brain power than any other group on the planet… even better than conventional athletes or scientists.
Extreme athletes know how to tap into “flow.”
On the radio show, Steven defined flow as this:
“Flow is technically defined as an optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and we perform our best. Flow is those moments where we get so sucked in that everything else seems to vanish. Concentration gets so intense that action and awareness start to merge. Your sense of self, your sense of self-consciousness disappear. Time passes strangely. Sometimes it speeds up and five hours will pass by in, like, five minutes. Sometimes it slows down and you get that freeze-frame effect like in a car crash. And throughout, all aspects of performance go through the roof.”
I’ve seen “flow” happen. I’ve seen computer programmers get so engaged in programming code that they forget to eat and forget to sleep. They go 24 straight hours. It’s far beyond what most people think the brain and body can do.
Although Steven has spent the most time studying extreme athletes, he points that flow can help regular people achieve incredible things at work. He says:
“McKinsey did a 10-year study. They found top executives report being five times more productive in flow than out of flow. You gotta stop and think about that… It means you get to go to work on Monday in flow, you take Tuesday through Friday off, and get as much done as your steady-state peers.”
The good news is, you don’t have to jump off cliffs or surf to achieve what Steven calls “flow states.” You just have to know some basic neuroscience.
Accessing flow states is all about manipulating brain chemicals so they allow you to achieve incredible focus and energy levels.
It even helped Steven recover from a horrible disease that doctors couldn’t figure out. He was bedridden for three years. He was near suicide. But he figured out how flow works, and now he’s healthy and happy.
One key way to access the flow state is to take on a project or a job or an athletic event that slightly exceeds your current skills. Not far beyond your skills… just slightly beyond. If you can long jump eight feet, try to jump across a ditch that is eight feet four inches. You’ll be amazed at what you can do.
I personally think that accessing flow states is an essential part of surviving and thriving in the Choose Yourself Era. The cubicle economy that America has survived on for the past 100 years is dead.
The only way to really survive over the next 20 years is to access this internal piece of yourself that contributes to flow and makes you a better person than you thought you could be. Find the part of yourself that will make you more creative, more energetic, and more independent.
I hope you’re interested in flow and Steven’s ideas on it. On the show, you’ll hear about several ways you can start accessing flow. Use it to do whatever you want. Several of my friends at Stansberry & Associates said this was the most interesting podcast I’ve done all year.
You can hear my entire discussion with Steven Kotler right here, for free.
More from James: