In the first four weeks of this course our focus was on creating our MTP (Massively Transformative Purpose), then becoming a time Jedi, understanding and defining the six categories of grit and identifying the six aspects of burnout. This week, week five our study shifted to the four components of the “Flow” cycle: struggle, release, flow and recovery.
I think maybe for the first time I’ve come to fully understand the critical and necessary nature of the need for “struggle” in my life. When I was younger I generally perceived struggle as fun because I would be struggling with something that I was passionate about and would walk through walls to accomplish. Learning how to play baseball, hockey, soccer etc or bass guitar and singing harmony was all in a day’s work and even though frustrating at times was always enjoyable and rewarding. Over the ensuing years I forgot the fun aspect associated with struggle as I got married and started a family. I began viewing/experiencing these situations with frustration, trepidation and fear.
Somehow over time I’d develop the mindset that as we aged life was supposed to get easier and struggle was a thing of the past, something we did when we were younger. As with many understanding in my life I was incorrect. As I’m now learning, struggle is a necessary component to achieving the state of flow. For the past few decades I had conceived of struggle as an indicator that I was obviously doing something wrong or that I was incompetent or both. When would things ever get easier! I now see that struggle is a key piece of this cycle. It, struggle, is letting us know that we are on the correct path. We can’t access the other three parts of the cycle, release, flow and recovery without working through this phase to get to the release stage.
Release the second piece of the “Flow” cycle from what I understand can be manifested in more than one way. Sometimes release is as simple as struggling with a task or project for an hour or two then getting up and walking away from it, literally just taking a break, moving, stretching etc (recovery) giving our mind a chance to disengage from the struggle, allowing it to assimilate what work we have done and then coming back with a renewed energy and a different perspective as we resume the work. Release on the other hand can also be a breakthrough, the result of working on a project or skill over a period of days, weeks, month etc and then suddenly there is a break through into release. The second one from my limited knowledge is when we are most likely to enter “flow.”
The state of “Flow” as described by FRC can be identified as a state of “selflessness,” where we sense we are connect to something far greater than ourselves, “timelessness,” losing track of time, what we think are minutes become hours and vice versa, “effortlessness,” whatever we do moves seamlessly from one thing to another and “richness,” there is a quality to our work or our perceptions that is like nothing else, S.T.E.R for short. I know, I’ve experienced moments like this; writing my book Mastership, as an example, I would sit down and start writing and hours would pass as the words flowed out onto the page and I wouldn’t even notice its passing. I was in another world or state as I’ve come to understand. I just never knew what was happening or how to replicate it. I’m also learning about how these states affect the brain and our body’s chemistry. As well I’m coming to understand that there are triggers to initiate these reactions but as we enter into each of these states the state of recovery is as much a fundamental part as the other three.
As was detailed and describe earlier in week three grit, recovery is an essential component to the “Flow” cycle. We can only remain in the states of struggle, release and flow for so long before we are no longer productive. That’s why I believe recovery is included in grit as well as in the flow cycle. As we work through the struggle phase into release and triggering flow we must give ourselves time to recover. For me through even before finding out about this course I’d learned over the years the necessity of incorporating the concept of consistently; getting 7/8 hours of sleep nightly, hydrating and eat properly as an essential part of my everyday life. This effect I believe can only be compounded as I work on learning how to trigger these states.
I am fascinated by what I am learning and the potential for my personal growth as I work through this course. It is rather like drinking from a fire hose as the saying goes. The key though is being able to share what I’m learning along with my knowledge and experience as an encouragement to you that no matter where we are in our lives that we are never too old or young to learn, grow and improve.
You can find out more about me at https://www.lornedavidson.com .
See you again soon.
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