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Get Into Your Creative Flow

Lesson 13 of 32

Your Flow Profile

Steven Kotler

Get Into Your Creative Flow

Steven Kotler

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Lesson Info

13. Your Flow Profile

Lesson Info

Your Flow Profile

What we're gonna do now is we're going to jump onto the, everybody take out your phones. If you're at home, you're going to want to do this online. And what we're gonna do is we're gonna go to the Flow Genome Project website and there is a free flow profile there. This will tell you, it's a diagnostic, basically it's a tritology, so if you're this kind of person, you're most likely to find flow in these directions. So, this is the very first flow hack we're gonna cover together, so go to the, F-L-O-W G-E-N-O-M-E P-R-O-J-E-C-T, just fill it out and you'll enter your email at the end and it will zip you an answer, so fill out the quiz, wait till you get that email and we'll figure out which is your flow profile. I'll give you a couple minutes to do all this. One of the things, this has become kind of the largest study ever done in optimum performance and it's definitely the largest study that's been run on flow. What I'm consistently surprised by is that a questionn...

aire that is this short could be this powerful. Honest to god, that's really what kind of blows my mind, is that it's become this useful to so many people, as a flow hacking tool. Does your flow profile ever change? Over time? Over time. We're gonna cover this more. You tend to have a dominant and a sub category, alright. So as you're going through the questions, one of things you might be noticing is hey, I could answer these questions a couple different ways and I want you to choose what is most dominant, but when we come to other side, you know, over time, I would advise you, it'll be useful, we're not gonna do it today, go back and take the profile again and answer the questions the other way, just so you can see, but it'll be pretty clear in a second what your dominant and sub category is. Alright, so just out of curiosity, who in here came out as a Hard Charger? Flow Goers? Interesting. Crowd Pleasers? (Instructor laughs) Deep thinkers? That's interesting. Alright, so let's walk through these categories. Hard Chargers, these are Type A types. High risk, high reward, right? The super power here is you can absolutely get it done, you are gritty as hell and you will keep going, you will keep going, you will keep going. The downside of being a Hard Charger, addiction and an escalation of risk, right? Very, very, that's the dark side of being a Hard Charger. When you're producing all the, when you're working that hard, sometimes just to shut it off you will head towards substances 'cause there is no other way to slow down. Addiction becomes an issue, escalation of risk. One of things that we see in flow in general, known danger is your risk tolerance goes up over time. You will become, the more flow you get into over the course of your life, the more comfortable you're gonna get with risk, the more risks you will take, over time, right? So the escalation of risk for Hard Chargers can get very, very dangerous. We see that with action sport athletes, where they keep pushing, and keep pushing, and keep pushing, till they kill themselves. Flow Goers, these are people who you most likely associate with flow. Yoga teachers is a really kind of classic flow goer, people who attend Burning Man, I'm very flow-y, I'm in the zone, right? That's a Flow Goer. The great news, the super power about Flow Goers is that they have an easier time understanding one of the fundamental things about creativity, which is ultimately, your life is your creative art, that's what you're doing, right? Ultimately, as a creative, what you are doing is creating your life, you are sculpting your life. Flow Goers have a fundamental understanding of this. The downside for Flow Goers, they tend to be flakey and they tend to be bliss junkies. They start to feel flow and they don't want to do anything if they're not in flow, right? If it doesn't feel great, I must be doing something wrong, which is not the case at all, and we'll talk about why in a little bit. But they get addicted to the bliss flow and if they're not feeling that way, they don't want to do it at all, so that's the downside. Crowd Pleasers, we all know what a Crowd Pleaser is, right? These are people who get in flow from being in a group and usually these are the life of the party types, right? Really wonderful, fun, amazing people to be around, really engaging, really great to work with, fantastic. The downside is that becomes the only thing you do. First of all if you're really into the social life, right, the social life usually comes with drinking, sometimes comes with other substances. Again, addiction can be a real problem here, right? Also, pretense, right if you're the life of the party, if you're always that guy, you're always up, if you're always happy, people start expecting that of you and if you're not actually in that mood, right, they're wondering where the hell you've done, so you end up faking it a lot, and that's a danger of Crowd Pleasers. Deep Thinkers. Writers, creatives, contemplative work, a lot of flow takes place when they're alone, right? That's what Deep Thinker is. Now, interestingly when we first started this, it's tilted a little bit, most researchers, most people associated flow primarily with athletics and the performing arts, music, improv theater, that's what was the general scientific consensus. Turns out, no, what our research taught us is that the vast majority of people find flow, deep thinking exercises. What everybody in here does for a living, tends to be where most people find the most flow. Good news is, fantastic for contemplation, for introspection. The bad news is tend to burn out, Deep Thinkers tend to burn out, and they tend to be very, very disembodied. Deep Thinkers tend to forget that they actually have bodies and they become heads on sticks, right? So you neglect everything from the neck down in your life. These are kind of the kryptonite and the upside, but what you've looked at here is a flow diagnostic. So, now that we have kind of established that a little bit, I want to do a flow audit based on this. So everybody get out your notebooks, if you're doing this at home, you're gonna want to do this. So what is my primary flow profile, right? This is where you ended up, this what we emailed to you. What is my secondary, my additional flow profile? As they said, most people could have answered the questions a couple of different ways, so for example, I am a Hard Charger, that is my primary flow profile, but I'm also a Deep Thinker, right? And that's the sub category, so it's important to know what's your primary and what's your additional flow profile. And again, when you have time, go back, take the flow profile a second time if you want, answer the questions differently. This is useful information to you. Alright, so what are my top three activities that you get into flow, I'm talking about your primary flow profile. So if you're a High Charger, what are your top three activities? Are you a mountain biker, are you a skier, whatever that are, list those three please. Alright, now that we've got that, ask yourself what percentage of your life, and estimate this of course, do you think you spend in flow? You now know your primary flow activities, what you're doing, so ask yourself what percentage of my life do I think spend in flow? Last question. What three adjectives, choose carefully here, what three adjectives describe how you feel when you are doing your primary flow profile activities? So, these three activities, how do they make you feel? What three adjectives do they feel like? Alright, so I just wanna hear from you guys. A couple people. Just wanna know what your primary flow activity is and what are your three adjectives? Hi, my name's Jules Casseus. I am a Deep Thinker and when I'm in flow, I feel calm, connected, and inspired. My name is Isaac. My activities are qigong, extreme sports, and creative endeavors and I came up with two feelings, peaceful and exhilarated. Anybody else? Maybe hear from somebody in the back. Oh I don't care. No, no, please, you got it. I'm Kitting, my flow activities are tennis, swimming, and I just feel present, hyper focused, and aware. Any of you back there? One more, yeah, go ahead, Phil. I'm Phil, I'm a Hard Charger, my easiest way to get there is through snowboarding, and my adjectives are alive, electric, and peaceful. Snowboarding, that's that sport for people who can't ski. I've heard of that. (audience laughs) Yeah okay. We've been on the mountain together. Alright, so those three adjectives that we just came up with, put them someplace you can see. It's useful to know how the target feels like. It's useful to have a target, alright, we're gonna talk a lot about goal direction later. It's very useful for the brain to have a target, an emotional target is very, very useful. So take those adjectives, post them someplace you can see them.

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!