The Art of Getting Into ‘The Flow’
In this high-intensity, maximum-effort, head-down and full-charge work culture, we are taught that success is forced. By calling our digital marketing agency flow, we’ve rejected the narrative of the burn-out culture.
Hustle every day. Crush it. Destroy it. Obliterate it. Make it wish it was never born.
To us, this fixation of attacking work suggests a disconnect between the task and its performer. That’s a problem.
“When you’re not dominated by feelings of separateness from what you’re working on, then you can be said to “care” about what you’re doing.” – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
When you are crushing, obliterating, and destroying it, in your mind, your efforts are only a means to an end. Work is an obstacle, with tasks you need to get off your plate. Adopt this attitude towards work and towards your life and you’ll never truly care about what you are doing. With this philosophy, you can’t give anything the attention it deserves, and may as a consequence, produce a stream of work that is passable, but never begin to approach the exceptional.
At Flow, we know that the task itself can be its own reward. By enjoying and creating for creation’s sake, we do better and get the best results for our clients while reaping the benefits of enjoyment, creative energy, and high team morale.
Catch us at the right time, and you’ll find us gushing over ideas, analytics, goal setting, and inspiration for a new upcoming project. Other times we’ve got our head down doing the hard yards, but it is driven by a connection to the brands and businesses we work with – aiming to ‘keep in the Flow of things’ and balanced with a debrief over a beer or lunch out at a cafe (The Boss’s shout, of course).
Here’s our optimal work culture: The Flow State.
The Flow State Is Complete Immersion. It Is an Enjoyable and Productive Experience.
When immersed in a task, one will begin to act without effort. Your actions become the pure and natural response to what’s in front of you. This is the flow state.
You’ll know what this is if you can recall a time you’ve experienced it – when all the chatter, the bubbling of the water cooler, and the ambient typing of keys fade into the unobserved distance. You’re really vibing with something, and tasks easily hold our attention and effort without the drudgery.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the foremost expert, attributes this flow state to the human brain’s bandwidth threshold. We are all running on dialup. He says the nervous system is incapable of processing more than 110 bits of information per second. Listening to a conversation, for example, requires about 60 bits/second of information, which is why we can’t pay attention to two conversations at the same time, without great difficulty. He goes on to say that complete immersion in a task takes us to the upper limits of our brain’s threshold.
The brain physically doesn’t have enough bandwidth left to monitor how the body feels, or even maintain identity. For all intents and purposes, when properly in a state of flow there is nothing left of you except the task at hand – full concertration, focus, and flow.
In the flow state, you’re completely immersed and free from distraction and concern. You escape the nagging of the self. Only in this state can the writer, the designer the developer become a conduit for raw universal inspiration. Productivity accelerates and satifaction is guaranteed.
In Sports, The Flow is Called ‘The Zone’
When asked about his victory at the 1990 Australian Grand Prix, Wayne Gardner said this -”During the last five laps I had this sort of above body experience where I actually raised up above and I could see myself racing. It was kind of a remote control and it’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever had experienced in my life.”
Wayne went with the flow.
Jean François Billeter describes flow as a “state of perfect knowledge of the reality of the situation, perfect efficaciousness and the realization of a perfect economy of energy”. There is a common theme here. Elite athletes, mastery of a task, and economy of energy. To achieve a flow state, one must have true mastery over the task at hand.
A task needs to sit right in the overlap of challenging and possible. To put it another way, you know exactly what needs to be done, but still, there is no easy way to do it.
Flow State Throughout The Ages; Spanning Centuries & Cultures
The flow has roots in meditation, philosophy and religion. It’s so central to the human experience that although isolated by vast distances and oceans, cultures have independently discovered, forgot and then rediscovered flow time and time again.
In Japanese culture, there is the philosophy of Mushin. In Chinese culture, there is a similar idea of Wuxin. The original meaning of the Greek word ecstasy simply meant to stand to the side of something. To get out of your own way.
“When the swordsman stands against his opponent, he is not to think of the opponent, nor of himself, nor of his enemy’s sword movements. He just stands there with his sword which, forgetful of all technique, is ready only to follow the dictates of the subconscious. The man has effaced himself as the wielder of the sword. When he strikes, it is not the man but the sword in the hand of the man’s subconscious that strikes.” – Legendary Zen master Takuan Sōhō
The philosophy of Taoism focuses on the central concept of Wu Wei. Action through in-action. In the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu describes Wu Wei Wu as allowing something to happen through you.
Taoists flow can be thought of as effortless action. Their philosophy speaks of universal flow. The universe has no desire and yet from it everything is done.
To sum up, The Flow state is
– Achieved through mastery of a task, And
– Creates exceptional results.
This is the goal and aim of Flow Marketing NZ. To learn, thrive, create, and acheieve exceptional results for our clients. (And love what we do!)
– Flow Marketing NZ