How do the top 1% attain their flow, every day?
Top performers are normal human beings just like you and me, but they tend to be just slightly better for some reason. Their mindset makes a huge difference and NO mindset is not innate, they don’t wake up motivated or positive every day. So what’s the secret? It’s their flow that makes the difference.
What is a Flow State and Why is this the Secret to a Successful day?
Psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, known as one of the cofounders of the field of positive psychology, was the first to identify and research the phenomenon of flow. You may not have heard of the word but others identify the experience as being “in the zone,” or “in the groove”.
I’m sure you have experienced a flow state at some point. It’s that sense of fluidity between your body and mind, where you are totally focused beyond the point of distraction.
The Science behind Flow
In an episode of the Tim Ferriss Show where Tim speaks with Tony Robbins (the world’s most famous performance coach) about how Tony is so ridiculously positive all the time. In the podcast, Tony explains that the most important thing is to move from your current state to a good and strong state before you do anything else.
Tony explains that instead of trying to address the mind, it’s far easier to address your physiology. He explained that each day is largely determined by a priming process. This is a process that most people overlook, but plays a vital role in improving your mental strength for the rest of your day.
What is Priming
Priming is a phenomenon in which exposure to one stimulus influences how a person responds to a subsequent, related stimulus. These stimuli are often conceptually related to words or images.
Priming occurs whenever exposure to one thing can later alter your behavior or thoughts. So taking time to adjust your thoughts and emotions by using a stimulus to influence your state can bring you to your peak performance.
The way you start your day determines how well you live your day
State → Strategy → Story
The state of the person, the story of the person, and the strategy of the person.
The State of Mind, with which we look at things is controlled by the biochemistry in our heads.
There are two states a person can be in or chooses to be in:
- Powerful state: positive mindset, problem-solving, belief in oneself
- Victim state: complaining, shift blaming, negative mindset
We live our lives, in Stories and Narrations, that feed our minds. Thus, after taking care of the State of our mind, we can Create and Narrate, a narrative that leads us to the next step, of forming a Strategy.
The story is then influenced by the state of the person:
- Powerful state: e.g “I am more than enough”
- Victim state: e.g “I can’t do this, life is unfair, I am limited”
Depending on your story your strategic brain will find solutions. So example if your story is in a “victim state” instead of seeing solutions to the problem you will see more problems in the problem. Contrary to that, the person in the Powerful State will recognize the problem, analyze, strategize and create a plan of action.
Thus, a Priming Routine helps us tide away most of what seem to be problems, which are nothing more than a product of Bad Biochemistry.
How to Prime:
- Mindset: choose what you focus on
- Language: Be aware of the voice in your head. “Never Say Anything About Yourself That You Don’t Want To Come True”- Brian Tracy
- Our Physiology: the physical state we choose to be in. There’s a saying that the “Mind is a kite and the body is the string”. In order to move the kite, you must move the string.
Bringing out the Flow
The good news is getting into a “flow state or into the zone state” does not have to be too difficult. With consistency, it can develop into a habit.
Think about professional athletes, musicians, entrepreneurs, and top performers, they are doing something challenging yet they consistently perform at high levels.
The point is that it’s not something that happens randomly. You do not have to wait for it to happen. You can be intentional about creating the conditions that lead to a flow state. Just think how great it would be to experience flow in your everyday life. Being in a flow state does more than just make the day go faster- It holds a positive effect, on health, productivity, and well-being.
Achievers who Practice Priming:
Tim Ferriss does 5–10 pushups followed by meditation
Tony Robbins does 10 minutes of breathing and gratitude exercises
Peter Diamandis stretches in the shower followed by Wim Hof breathing
Regardless of which morning routine you choose, I highly recommend thinking about how you start your day. Try to experiment.
If exercise is not your thing, here’s a great read: TOO LAZY TO BE FIT: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE