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Flow - Why, What & How

Imagine being able to reduce your stress levels while simultaneously improving creativity, resilience, wellbeing, and your ability to deal with overwhelm.


Flow (being in the zone) improves emotional regulation, engagement and overall enjoyment. Unsurprisingly, this also drives peak performance and what researchers refer to as peak experiences.


Time spent in Flow is increasingly viewed as the best measure of performance and productivity, with specialised Flow training being adopted by everyone from Google, Cisco, Nike to the Navy Seals.


According to the Flow Research Collective, Flow has also shown the following benefits;


  • Mckinsey & Company found a 500% increase in productivity by executives who regularly access flow states

  • Harvard found subjects to have three days of heightened creativity after the flow state

  • Advances Brain Monitoring & DARPA found subjects to have a 490% increase in skill acquisition

  • The University of Sydney found subjects to have a 430% increase in creative problem solving


Flow is defined as “an optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best". The experience of Flow generally involves a sense of selflessness, timelessness, effortlessness, and richness that culminate in a feeling of complete presence and engagement. The term was first introduced by the late psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi from his research into optimal experiences. This research led to a number of ground-breaking books on Flow, Creativity and Happiness, and how these can be cultivated and applied in our professional and personal lives.


"The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost" – Csikszentmihalyi


Whether we realise it or not, we’ve all experienced Flow in some form or another. At Curiousmind we argue this is the default mindset of young children. Unfortunately, as we “grow up”, many of us find ourselves disconnected from the activities that once facilitated these experiences (play, hobbies, recreation, creativity etc.). Too often this results in an unhealthy reliance on other dopamine and endorphin triggers such as drugs, alcohol, risk-taking or social media. Not only are these unsustainable, but they rarely leave us truly fulfilled or contribute to an overall sense of wellbeing.


Flow is often a byproduct of more fulfilling activities like surfing, yoga, playing music, being immersed in nature, creativity etc.. However, without specialised training it can be difficult to separate the mindset from the activity and therefore transfer the benefits to other pursuits.


A curious mind is a mind in flow


At Curiousmind we use a range of methodologies, including storytelling, games, physical activities and scientifically validated mindfulness exercises to get our audiences into flow. In addition to leveraging Flow as a means of improving engagement and learning transfer, we also take it a step further by teaching people how to consciously trigger this mindset without relying on external stimuli.


This turns flow from a byproduct to a mindset one can access at will.

Of our methodologies, one of the most unique and effective is adapted from traditional Kung Fu. Since 1998 I’ve been studying and teaching an obscure lineage of Wing Chun Kung Fu focused on developing this high-performance mindset as a means of improving performance and consciously accessing abilities usually available only in extreme/life-threatening circumstances (what science has called “hysterical strength”).


By using this form of kung fu as a vehicle for exploring and cultivating this mindset, we also develop a host of related skills and benefits (increased body awareness, confidence, physical wellbeing etc.). This approach to mindfulness provides an objectively measurable output that helps win over sceptics. We also find this approach offers additional motivation for anyone that isn’t necessarily interested in traditional reflective practices such as mindfulness/meditation (our scientific approach and use of humor also helps here). The result is a rebalancing of the conscious mind, unconscious mind and body leading to an overall improved sense of wellbeing and ability to harness flow in all areas of their lives.


Most importantly, it’s a fun and safe way to get people out of their heads, reconnect with their bodies, and cultivate better mental and physical health

Grandmaster Chu Shong Tin & Ip Man


The good news is, much like curiosity itself, achieving Flow is not so much something we need to teach, but rather an innate ability to reacquaint ourselves with. This usually involves learning to let go, rather than an “active” process - doing less, not more.


Developing self-awareness and learning to let go of attachments in order to be present are critical to living a more enjoyable and fulfilling life filled with these peak experiences. This is one of the reasons we built our Curiousmind Academy Resilience Program* around this core aspect of resilience.


How would more Flow improve your career, wellbeing and overall satisfaction?


*SPECIAL OFFER - 50% off all programs at the Curiousmind Academy, just use the coupon code CURIOUS during checkout