STILLNESS IN MOTION
What is a flow state?
We've all had moments where we get so caught up in what we're doing that time seems to disappear. Whether we're playing a sport, making music, or working on a new project, there are moments when we become completely absorbed in the task at hand.
Psychologists call this a flow state, and it's characterized by a sense of effortlessness, heightened awareness, and peak performance. Although these mental states are primarily associated with sports and creative pursuits, we can access them through any activity if we create the proper parameters.
The benefits of flow
When we reach a state of flow, our feelings of stress, fear, and doubt are all quieted and we are left with a pure sense of purpose.
To be in flow is such a fulfilling experience, the activity that is creating flow becomes its own reward.
With the combination of enhanced clarity, focus, and motivation, research shows that being in a state of flow can improve productivity by 500%.
the Neuroscience of Flow
The magic of flow states can be observed in the interaction of 5 key neurotransmitters in the brain. These neurotransmitters are:
Increases focus, pattern recognition, and information processing. Dopamine improves our skills and productivity.
Increases heart rate, respiration, energy, attention, neural efficiency, and emotional control. Norepinephrine is responsible for states of flow being compared to being high.
Increase pleasure and decrease pain. Endorphins enhance the positive feelings of being in a flow state.
Elevates mood, enhances respiration, and improves creative thinking. Anandamide produces similar effects to marijuana.
Creates feelings of satisfaction. Serotonin is responsible for the positive feelings we experience at the end of a workout or productive creative session.
How to achieve flow
While flow is often associated with creative or physical pursuits, it is possible to achieve with any activity that meets the proper parameters.
When these conditions are met, we become so focused on the task at hand that everything else disappears from our consciousness. As a result, we're able to achieve a level of performance that exceeds our previous capacities.
In order to enter a state of flow, these are the parameters that must be met:
One of the reasons sports are such a common way to experience flow is there are clear objectives. But we can create this same condition in our daily work too by giving ourselves a clear goal for the given timeframe.
In order to maintain a state of flow, we need to know how we are doing at the given task. We need to see our progress and be able to make adjustments that will increase our chances of success.
the challenge-skill balance
There is a small space between stress and boredom, and in that space is where we find flow. We need to be challenged just to the edge of our abilities so that it takes all our efforts to succeed.
The above parameters are primary and essential for flow, but there are a few other things that will allow you to enter and maintain a state of flow more effectively.
The proper mindset
In flow, as in life, our focus should be on the process not the prize. The pursuit is its own reward.
The Right Time of Day
Everyone has different times of day when they feel their most creative and focused, and we will naturally find our flow more easily during these times.
Minimizing the noise and clutter in our environment removes the common distractions that can pull us out of flow.
Stillness in motion
Our Summer ‘22 Collection, dubbed “Stillness in Motion,” is a celebration of the fact that true fulfillment, satisfaction, and purpose are not found in a passive state of relaxation, but rather when we are engaged in a meaningful challenge, stretched to the limits of our abilities.
It is a recognition that the stillness we so often seek is found in the motion of creativity and performance. And because it is an active state, it is within our control.
Message from the founder
When we think of the word “transcend” or imagine what “self-transcendence” might feel like, we often imagine ourselves at some point in the future where we will reach that singular moment of contentment.
Often we imagine a material moment in the future that will make us feel like we “made it” and we can “finally relax.” We think we will feel an everlasting feeling of accomplishment. Maybe it’s the moment we buy our dream car, purchase our first house, get to travel the world, or become famous.
I am not immune to these material illusions of fulfillment, and I have had the opportunity to experience many of these sought-after moments that I thought would bring me peace and fulfillment. But luckily it’s not that easy…
Throughout the journey of building a company, it’s incredibly easy to lose sight of the original vision and become distracted by ideas of material success and external validation. The antidote to this is found in the philosophy of self-transcendence.
The paradox of self-transcendence is that it is directionally found inward, not upward or forward. Once I was able to reframe this idea, it became easy to focus all of my energy on the journey of building my dream brand.
And in the grueling trenches of building a business, I started having moments when I stopped thinking that the process was just to get to an end goal, and realized the long hours and the constant pressure was actually what I truly loved. I realized self-transcendence was not a moment or place but a perspective shift.
What I’ve come to believe is that we can find daily fulfillment in the process of exposing ourselves to harder and harder challenges, always trying to compete against our previous selves. Fulfillment is just choosing to fully engage in the process of life.
We can either see the unavoidable challenges in life as a burden, or a blessing. Because in the end, we are not affected by the challenges we face, but the attitude we take in facing them.
Taking this belief to the next level, I try to structure my life in a way that is filled with challenges, so that I continuously train this mindset. If challenge is unavoidable, I would rather seek it out and use it as my teacher so that I have more chances to change my reaction to them.
In creating our company culture, my goal is to build a team of people who are driven by passion and a desire for progress. We’re not concerned with the speed of our bottom-line growth, but the amount of personal growth we can achieve along the way.
It would be easy at any stage of the company to throw in the towel, convince myself that I’m not qualified to be doing the things I’m doing, and either hire experienced executives or just cash out and never have to work again.
But for me, I find so much value and fulfillment in the daily struggle of constantly doing things I’m quite literally “unqualified” to do. We should be unqualified at what we’re doing because that means we’re trying to learn something new. I always want to be punching above my weight class, otherwise what’s the point?
Growth is part of adapting. It’s about taking yourself to a level outside your comfort zone, stretching your abilities, and then finding a way through.
This process takes a level of honesty and humility; what’s outside your comfort zone might be easy for someone else. But if we commit ourselves to confronting that discomfort each day, the potential for our growth is truly unlimited.
- Jay B.
© ASRV 2022