Introduction to Workshop
If you're not familiar with Steven Kotler, let me tell you a little bit about him. Steven is a New York Times Bestselling Author. He's an award winning journalist. He is the co-founder of the Flow Genome Project. He's written eight books, including his latest book Stealing Fire, and you've seen his writing in many publications including Times, Forbes, Wired, many more. We are thrilled to have him on CreativeLive for the first time. So please welcome to the stage Steven Kotler. (audience clapping)
Good morning. How are you guys doing?
All right. Welcome to Flow for Creatives. This is a class about empowering creatives. So if you're not doing something creative for a living, if you're not totally passionate about it, you're probably in the wrong place and you should leave. Cause the next six hours are gonna suck. (crowd laughs) But if you are doing something creative for a living, we're gonna spend the next six hours talking about how to empower you to much more fero...
cious about it. And I thought, since it's gonna be a class on creative empowerment and high performance, I would start out by telling you why I think this class is so important. And for that to make sense, you have to know that I grew up as a punk rocker in Cleveland, Ohio in the 70s and the 80s when it was not a very safe time to be a punk rocker in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland itself had been burned to the ground in the 70s, so the actual city was a wasteland and it was surrounded by the most conservative people you could possibly imagine. So I was essentially in a fight every day from the time I was 13 to the time I was 17, which is not a requirement for creativity. But it did (laughs) drive me to find my own people in Cleveland, which I found on a four block strip known as Coventry. And it was a communist bookstore, and a couple of coffee shops, and a couple of bars and a couple of things like that. And it was every weirdo in Ohio cause it was the only place we could go. So it wasn't just punk rockers. If you were transvestite, if you were a lesbian, if you were gay, if you did theater, if you did magic, if you were a musician, if you were whatever, and it was the most destroyed, broken group of people you could possibly imagine. People were in and out of jail for very serious crimes. Not small crimes. Serious crimes. Lot's of drug addiction. Lots of people died along the way. Lots of alcoholism. A lot of abuse. A lot of people came from horrific backgrounds. Torturous backgrounds. Sexual abuse, child abuse. If you were ever going to bet on a group of people, you would have never bet on this group of people at all. Everybody's possible top pick for least successful group, and out of this small group of about 2,000 weirdos in Cleveland, Ohio, Nine Inch Nails, Sepultura, Filter, about nine other bands I can name. Comic book artists like Harvey Pekar, Daniel Rodriguez. Writers such as myself and about nine or 10 other people who came onto this tiny community and managed to reshape culture. And this fascinated me a lot along the way because it shouldn't have been possible. Every one of us should have ended up dead, or in jail, or both. And where did it come from? Two things that distinguished this community: First, it was a tribe. People were very tightly bonded together. They were very supportive. Really critical for longterm creativity. More importantly, people were obsessed with process, which was really weird because we were all really young, 16, 17, 18, but how creativity worked was something we talked a lot about, and how to foster. So it kindled in me kind of this idea that there's an art to art. There's something that goes on behind all this that really matters. So, a lot of what we're gonna be doing today is taking that the next step forward. This is sort of the end. This class is the end result of what's become a 30 year obsession with creative process and where it comes from and how we can empower each other. So, with that said, I wanna talk a little bit about what we're going to be doing today and how it's going to work. Today is gonna be divided into five modules. The first module's gonna cover creativity itself. The next four modules are going to cover the four stages of the flow cycle. So flow, the state of optimal performance, that will be the focus of a lot of today, is a four stage process. We'll go into it, but we're going to devote each module, one module to each stage of the cycle, and what you can do to maximize the flow and creativity in that moment. And, what we're gonna be doing inside of those modules is four things. The first is we're going to start out with cognitive literacy. Understanding what is going on in the brain in the body during states of high performance, during states of creativity. You need to know how your brain and your body work if you're really gonna hack creativity well. So we're gonna fill you in on all that stuff. We're also gonna jump into maps and models. So, a lot of the stuff we're talking about today, creativity, information processing in the brain, these are network effects. There are orders to them. Things happen first, second, third, fourth, fifth, those are the maps and models. We're gonna give you the layout of the land, the territory, so you know where you are, and you know where we're going. Craft hacks and mind hacks. So my good friend Michael Gervais, who is on the board on the Flow Genome Project and he is the high performance coach for the Seattle Seahawks. So if you ever, if you watch the Superbowl when Seattle won the Superbowl, afterwards they were interviewing Pete Carroll, the coach, about his secret weapon. Mike Gervais was the secret weapon. Mike likes to say "there are only three things "you can actually hack. "You can hack your body. "You can hack your mind, and you can hack your craft." We're not gonna spend a lot of time talking about how to hack your body today. We'll touch on it a little bit cause there's some stuff you're gonna need to know, but we're gonna focus primarily on craft hacks and mind hacks. We're gonna back that up a little bit and sort of do meta craft hacks, craft hacks that fly across the board to all creatives. And mind hacks is gonna be the bulk of what we're talking about. How do you hack your consciousness to amplify creativity, to amplify high performance?