By superstars I mean Olympic medal winning athletes, Oscar winning entertainers, Grammy Winning musicians, remarkable leaders — people who are worthy of being role models.
Whether you want to make an impact on world stage or become the hero of a local tribe; choice is yours. But to stand out in any space you need to be proactive and get in the flow when you do your thing.
How do you think people like A R Rahman or James Cameron are able to create hit after hit. Repeating a hit is a big challenge and there is no formula to it. Still they do it time and again. Rahman who has been creating remarkable music for decades is set to add another feather in his cap with Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours. Cameron who started with Piranha II and Terminator recently repeated his “Titanic” success with Avatar, the biggest grossing film of all times.
Think about Sachin Tendulkar, Ussain Bolt or Tiger Woods (his personal life aside).
Entrepreneurs like Richard Branson and Bill Gates have achieved so much because they are in the flow when they work. People also talk about the privileged background of Bill Gates contributing to his success. It sure did contribute but there were so many of them coming from similar background without success stories like him.
If only people from privileged background could do it then there will be no rags to riches stories world over and there are many.
If you want to be remarkable and be like your superstars then you need to get in the flow and create — without thinking about your background.
Why do it?
You get a great deal done.
When you are in the flow you are one with the task not thinking about anything else. Such a state boosts creativity and increases productivity.
You transcend the boundaries of your thought.
Thoughts are strange. They are empowering but at times can also pull you down. It is important to go beyond the realm of your thoughts to realize your true potential – not thinking what you what you can do, but actually doing with nothing else on mind.
How to do it?
Get away from distractions.
It is impossible to get in flow with a constraint stream of emails, phone calls and meetings. Avoid or limit these if you can do it during your workday; or choose early morning or late night — whichever suits you to create your thing.
Decide on what you want to be good at and spend time doing it. It helps you smooth rough edges and helps you become proficient in what you do.
Space to learn and create may not always be same. Depend in what area of work you are in. A writer learns from environment but to write she needs solace. Somebody who makes software also needs solace to write code. If you are building a business then you need to be out in the market honing your selling and negotiating muscles.
Create a ritual.
I listen to music to get in the flow – Ballads, Jazz, Sufi, and Hip-Hop. When not working I enjoy listening to rock as well but not to get in the flow. I prefer low volume (so that I will be able to listen to my thoughts) and repeat one song many times (so that there is no unconscious effort to understand lyrics). Music has a calming effect on most of the individuals. I also go out for a long stroll at times. Do one of these or what suits you best.
Do something that you enjoy.
When you aim for flow do something that you enjoy doing. Also do not make it an excuse to avoid complex challenges or tedious tasks. It will be some time before you attain a degree of proficiency or ease in something that you do and really enjoy it. So give yourself time.
Is there anything else that you think can help us get in flow? Ideas?