Remember the last time you were “on a roll”? Remember that feeling that you couldn’t set your foot wrong, the serendipity was astounding and everything seemed to fall uncannily into place? Best of all, it felt like no effort at all, like it wasn’t really you doing it.
And then it stopped.
It’s usually because you started to believe it was you, that you were awesome, special.
So then you’re thrown out of the flow and start feeling like a magician without magic.
FLOW LESSONS FROM FENCING
Last weekend, I fenced one of this year’s fencing World Cup medallists.
I actually enjoyed the (losing) experience because I got a glimpse of the mind of a genius. I love to learn and this was a masterclass.
Even though the medallist was clearly in a league of his own, he felt that he wasn’t performing at his best lately.
Now, he could down the road of trying motivational techniques but the truth is the quickest (and probably only way) to get back into flow is to let go.
WHAT IS LETTING GO?
The question is what are you really letting go of. If you’re out of flow, you’ve latched onto something that is keeping you still and stuck.
Our brain is a loss aversion machine. If it detects the slightest possibility of loss/damage/harm, it will start to overheat, make you feel uncomfortable and try and get you to take survival-driven action.
So most of our compulsive actions are designed to get us away from a perceived negative experience like the possibility of losing your job/your partner/the tournament.
If you’re still with me, here, you might realise that letting go of something (like the desire to be in flow) means letting go of the resistance to the absence of that thing.
The principle is the same whether you’re resisting the absence of your morning macchiato or the absence of a sublime spiritual state.
It’s simple but not necessarily easy; a long term practice…
However, living by this principle, gives you the key to creating success from power rather than survival.
A TOOL FOR LETTING GO: THE 4 RS
The beauty of mindfulness is that it’s a sophisticated approach to rewiring your brain.
The 4 Rs has helped many of my clients to:
- transform their perception of themselves, the world and others
- transform their relationships at work and personal life
- create and take up exciting opportunities and experience less anxiety and greater fulfilment.
Here is a brief summary (see the video below for more). The application is very individualised and is best done with someone else to give you feedback.
1. Recognise: Notice when you’ve gone into attachment/aversion and you’re feeling uncomfortable (feeling that something is wrong)
2. Refrain: Stop your usual pattern of behaviour when you’re uncomfortable. What do you usually do to avoid discomfort? Interrupt the pattern by stopping any habitual action.
3. Relax: If you’re able to interrupt the pattern for a few moments, you’ll feel a little mindspace develop. Now you can use relaxation techniques to get you back to neutral (which is where you have a chance of re-entering the flow…)
4. Resolve: Commit to staying in the present moment and letting go every time an attachment or aversion arises.
This tool can single-handedly transform your life.
Of course, if you can’t tolerate any discomfort you’re going to have to practise more basic principles of emotional management first. These are also part of the coaching process I take my clients through.
However, this is only the foundation. It’s the expanded ability to create extraordinary things and shine more light in the world that’s the really exciting phase!
Have a great week,
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