The current study examined the flow experiences and the relationship between flow and MPA amongst professional classical orchestral. Superfluidity: The Psychology of Peak Performance . The sweet spot of flow lies between the anxiety caused by a challenge being too difficult. Srini: It seems like flow is essential for peak performance, . for other people— they've got some kind of relationship with alcohol that works.
Flow and the Psychology of Peak Performance | Heleo
I spent a lot of time studying action and adventure sport athletes, and you see amazing amounts of physical risk. Novelty is a phenomenal trigger. Complexity and unpredictability [too]—all of them drive focus. And underneath that focus is neurobiological activity.
A lot of these triggers drive norepinephrine and dopamine, two performance-enhancing, feel-good drugs that the brain produces, and they both massively enhance focus. With a lot of these triggers, these are things that are releasing the neural chemicals we need to drive focus. One that people get wrong all the time—a clear goal is a flow trigger. Your sense of self and [other] things that kick you out of flow start to resurface.
I have a couple of questions about distractions—technology, apps, all this other stuff that competes for our attention. But the amazing thing is, the moment I [check social media], it breaks. Cal Newport wrote a book called Deep Work where he talked extensively about how this actually does a lot of damage to our ability to get into flow.
Flow and the Psychology of Peak Performance
You are absolutely correct. No cell phone, no email, no Facebook, no Twitter, no phone calls, no anything. I put headphones in, and Ryan Holiday and I are the same on this—we tend to listen to the same soundtrack over and over.
So I spend four hours a day immersed in that. Albert Einstein used to famously rowboat into the middle of Lake Geneva and stare at the clouds.
Those are big numbers.
Some of those things—Modafinil, Ritalin, Adderall—are absolutely classified as cognitive-enhancing drugs. They boost norepinephrine, which will definitely make you more awake and alert, but it also increases anxiety levels, and can push you out of the sweet spot for flow. It may feel like flow to some people, but in terms of lateral thinking ability and those wild, creative insights, neurobiologically those are harder to come by.
You brought up technological solutions, [like how] you and Ryan Holiday listen to the same music over and over again. What technological tools are playing a role in all of this? And what about things like meditation and mindfulness—how do those [influence] our ability to create flow?
Relationship of Flow and Peak Performance in Winning
Flow is a skill. Meditation is phenomenal focus training. In fact the body's reaction to a given stimulus must occur at a speed that is faster than conscious thought.
For example, "Take your time, take a deep breath, bend your knees, and follow through. It also serves as a reminder to practice the task the same way each time until it becomes automatic. Self-talk should not occur during a game or competition. At this point, you are attempting to use skills that are already developed. When you are in the zone, you shouldn't think technical performance skills or tactics as this actual can become a distraction.
Professional athletes in particular are very focused on achieving peak performance. They do not simply hope that they perform well and accept whatever level of performance they achieve each day, but instead have a system for ensuring they do their best.
Six Characteristics for Achieving Peak Performance We hear a lot today about being your best, taking care of business, achieving success, and performing at your peak. What we don't always hear is what it takes to sustain peak performance. In the Zone, zoning in sports, peak performance, mental