“State” and “Flow” Related Concepts

“State” is the idea that you tend to do things better when you’re in a particular mindset. This has been proven to be true in multiple psychological studies. It is great to use for your advantage. 

You should never be reliant on “state.” Let’s say you were studying for a test with a specific type of music. You don’t want to be so reliant that you can’t take the test when the proctor says that no music is allowed during the test. You also don’t want to be thinking “I hate this teacher for not letting me use my music” instead of performing the task at hand. 

“State” should never be an excuse. You can’t tell your boss that you can’t do your work because you’re in a bad mood. “State” is a good thing to develop strategies around only. 

“Flow” is the idea that you are immersed in what you are doing. You are so engaged that the whole world almost feels like it;’s falling away and you can truly focus and get the best of yourself.  

Video games are a great example of “flow.” They are designed to keep the player “in flow.” They give you the right amount of challenge, success, and failure to keep you playing all night long and lose track of time.  If you’re assigning yourself levels that are too hard for you, you will keep failing and falling out of “flow.” If you have beaten the game 16 times, you become too complacent and also fall out of “flow.”

A lot of what “state” is how to get into “flow.” How do you create the right amount of challenges? How do you create the right engagement for yourself? How can you create the right situations that are going to lead to a result?

Being “out of flow” should never be an excuse. What you should be doing is doing the right procedures that get you “in flow.” The ironic part is that you can’t do them to get you “in state” or “in flow.” You have to do them because they’re the right thing to do. You have to let it happen naturally. You’re not able to raise your heartbeat or hiccup just by intrinsically thinking because they are involuntary functions. There are methods that you can do to get to that result, such as jumping up and down to raise your heartbeat. It’s hard to directly control it, but you can indirectly it. 

You can control “flow” by doing the right procedures, actions, and focusing on the right things. If you’re constantly checking whether you’re in flow, you’re making yourself analytical, which is the opposite of being “in state” or “in flow.”

These are great concepts that you should structure your practice around. You should absolutely never allow yourself to be dependent on it. You should also never make them an excuse.