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Get Into Your Creative Flow

Lesson 26 of 32

The Flow Phase

Steven Kotler

Get Into Your Creative Flow

Steven Kotler

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Lesson Info

26. The Flow Phase

Lesson Info

The Flow Phase

Alright, so Module Five is the third stage in the Flow Cycle, it is the Flow State itself. Soon as we move in to Release, we get a global release of Nitric Oxide, flushes the stress hormones out of our body. We get dopamine, anandamide, serotonin endorphins, our brain waves drop down to that Theta level. Let's play the other video as a way of introducing Flow. This is another one of the Rise of Superman videos. The first one was just with Chase Jarvis. This one is with a bunch of top athletes and a couple other top artists. Give you a sense of what Flow itself feels like and a little quick review of the neurobiology so I don't have to go over it again. (ambient orchestral music) You've got about an inch of ice in between you that is life. And then you see the valley floor thousands of feet below you. I was sliding out of control, I was going towards the crowd. I can remember still what the rock looked like, right when I grabbed the rope, shine at the rope. Something in me knew ...

I was gonna maybe die right then. You're in a state of absolute awareness without any effort. It's definitely the highest form of concentration I've ever experienced. And I'm just perceiving things much more clearly, much more slowed down than normal. It's when you're fully in sync, when you're making perfect decisions. Pretty much everything falls away. The superior form of consciousness. It's basically where life makes sense. We can use the action of venture sport athletes as case studies. We can apply this knowledge across all the map of society. We call this experience Flow because the sensation refers that every action, every decision leads seamlessly, fluidly to the next. It's technically defined as a state of consciousness where we feel our best and we perform our best. You have to find a state of mind where you're able to make fast decisions that you aren't even aware that you're making. Pattern recognition, future prediction, information processing, these skills are massively, massively amplified so Flow heightens an electrical performance, heightens creative performance, it heightens physical performance. A lot of athletes that I work with basically wouldn't feel like they were alive if they didn't have it. That's the only reason I'm putting my self in harm's way is for the heightened awareness. It's hard to put words to it, but it's addictive and that's what drives me to come back and do it again. Every action, every decision leads seamlessly, fluidly to the next. Being able to take those steps, slow 'em down, watch the video tape in your head and then once you've connected all of the dots, push the play button and it speeds back up and then you roll away. Time dilates, sometimes it slows down like in a car crash, that freeze frame effect, sometimes it speeds up and five hours pass by in five minutes. And the moment that everything slows down is that perfect moment of Flow and nothing is rushed because a second is a hell of a long time. I think everyone has tapped into Flow at some point in their life, that time where time stood still yet everything happened with infinite clarity. That's the best part is kind of letting go and seeing where it takes you. Knowing that, you know, you have the capability to make those decisions but kind of letting it happen. When it becomes your purpose, some people are gonna get it and some people won't. So the question at the heart of Rise of Superman is what the hell's going on? Where is this coming from? And the answer is that these athletes have become better at hacking the state of Flow than anybody else in the history of the world. Alright, so now we're gonna jump into the Flow State itself and the place I wanna start is what does Flow feel like? How do we know when we're actually in Flow? There was a question earlier about what's the difference between a state of intense concentration and Flow? These four categories. The acronym we use to describe them in Stealing Fire is STER, Selfless, Timeless, Effortless, and Richness. Selfless we talked about it. As we kick into Flow, prefrontal cortex shuts down, we can no longer create our sense of self. So the experience is Selfless. The experience is also Timeless for the same reason. We can no longer create that sense of time, we can no longer calculate time so it becomes the eternal moment. The Effortlessness of Flow is often described, if you're a fan of Taoism, Eastern Philosophy, they call it Effortless Effort, right? It's because of the the huge spike in motivation, they use spike in addictive neurochemistry. Feels like when you're in this state, that you're being propelled by forces greater than yourself. If I were to talk about this biblically, they would talk about it as thy will not my will be done. That's how it feels, right? Last bit is Richness. This is short for Information Richness. Flow is a state of heightened information processing in the brain. So these four characteristics together make up STER, they make up the state of Flow. When they are present, you know you're in this space.

Class Description

Do you want to learn more about flow? Take the Free Flow Profile to find out if you are a Deep Thinker, Crowd Pleaser, Hard Charger, or Flow Goer.

If creativity is already core to your life, then this program is perfect for you. This could mean you’re a copywriter at an ad agency, a scientist hunting a breakthrough, a coder designing software, an entrepreneur dreaming up your next start-up, a writer aching to finish that novel or a landscape painter trapped in the life of an accountant — all that matters is that generating novel ideas (and putting those ideas out in the world in some form or another) is core to your life and purpose.

Why Does “Flow for Creatives” even matter?

  • You keep losing the battle to be innovative in the rush to be productive.

  • You have writer’s block or coder’s block or painter’s block and the thing you used to love most in your life has become a source of pain and frustration.

  • You have trouble managing your emotions and fear keeps getting in the way of your good ideas.

  • You have trouble sustaining momentum on projects and tend to quit early rather than to finish what you started.

  • You have no idea how to gain access to groundbreaking insights and ideas when you need them most.

  • You don’t actually believe creativity is trainable.

  • You’re numbing yourself with substances and placating yourself with distractions as a way to ignore the fact that you’re not living up to your creative potential.

  • You get lost in the fixing to get ready phase, and never get down to business.

  • You keep bashing into creative walls but never breaking thru.

  • Your emotions keeping getting in the way of your desired outcomes. Fear of failure keeps you from committing to projects; perfectionism keeps you from making your work public.

Flow For Creatives can help.

It’s like an inspiration turbo-boost training program. It’s practical, experiential and experimental. You learn a new idea about Flow and Creativity, apply it to whatever problem you’re trying to solve, see what happens, then make it your own.

And, did you know…

  • When in Flow, your creative problem-solving abilities can spike by over 400 percent.

  • Research done at Harvard shows that the heightened creativity produced by Flow can outlast the state by a day, sometimes two—suggesting that Flow actually trains the brain to think more creatively over the long haul.

  • Creatives are more prone to depression than most people, but an understanding of the process can protect against this liability.

  • Creativity tops the list of 21st-century skills—meaning those skills that are essential for thriving in the modern world—yet 75 percent of people think they’re not living up to their creative potential.

  • The baseline brainwave state produced by Flow is also the ready condition for “Ah-ha” insight, meaning being in the zone makes you primed for breakthrough insight.

  • Fear blocks creativity, while Flow resets the nervous system, calming us down so we can avoid burnout and gain access to much-needed insight.

  • Unless you know how to train the brain properly, most people tap into their deepest creative potential at age 5.

  • Frustration is actually a built-in component of the creative process—it’s a sign that you’re moving in the right direction not a sign that you’re going about it all wrong.

Life is better than ever and we are feeling worse than evener. We are neurotic, stressed, unmotivated and it’s literally killing us. This class is for anyone that is serious about staying in their highest performing state.

*Warning: this instructor occasionally uses strong language. Viewer discretion advised*

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Jeremy Richardson

I've watched and participated in many webinars and online classes, and this was by far one of the best. The depth and breadth of information that Steven covers in this class is not only really important, but he structures it in a way that is engaging and most importantly: PRACTICAL. I'm coming out of this with a clear list of ways to improve my ability to get into Flow while accomplishing all of my creative endeavors. I highly recommend this to anyone who would like to do the same!


This is amazing. Steven is hitting so many pain point for me about reframing my fear. He is also an amazing presenter. Thank you, Steven! I am excited, I am excited, I am excited!

Isaac Freed

Utterly mind blowing. Wow. A few hours listening to Steven Kotler felt more like a few days. He has done his research, and offers so much practical application advice that I will review this material several times. Well worth it, and highly recommended. Thank you, Creative Live!