One month before the Olympics, US gymnast McKayla Maroney explained how she visualizes the perfect vault. Notice how she includes details like taking one step back, leaning back and then gaining speed as she starts her approach. She even imagines the crowd cheering. That feeling of just “knowing” that it’s going to be good — that’s when you know you’re ready. Here she is at the 2012 Olympics, executing the perfect vault.
One of the surefire ways to get into a flow state is to make sure there’s an ideal balance between the perceived challenges of the task at hand and our own perceived skills — if we perceive the challenge to be greater than our ability, we get anxious; if the challenge seems too easy, we get bored. The key lies in proactively and imaginatively figuring out how to do that. Check out how this ice tea vendor in Bangkok* does it and, in the process, makes […]
A few years back, I wrote a post about how to enjoy the job you have until you have the job you want. Here’s another suggestion Over at The Talent Code, Daniel Coyle wrote a post about how a disproportionate number of CEOs began their careers in the mailroom and worked their way up. (This was also the plot line for an 80′s movie, The Secret of My Success, starring Michael J. Fox.) Despite their lowly position on the corporate ladder, these underdogs […]
Have you seen the movie Limitless? Bradley Cooper plays struggling author Eddie Morra, who is suffering from serious writer’s block. His life dramatically changes when he runs into his former brother-in-law, who introduces him to NZT, a revolutionary new drug that allows him to instantly focus and tap into his full potential. Voila! He cleans up years of clutter in his apartment, starts working out, finishes his book in four days, learns to speak Italian and Chinese, outsmarts the stock […]
“Watch out! Oh no, you’re gonna screw up, you’re gonna screw up, you’re gonna screw up.” That’s what’s usually going through my head during a piano performance…..right before I screw up. Here’s what’s going through my head when I’m in the flow and playing my best: Yep. When it comes to thinking, less is definitely better. In the first few five or so years of life, our thoughts are simple and focused on the present moment: “I’m hungry.” “I’m sleepy.” […]
Over the weekend, I was out in Greenwich, CT to coach Navy SEAL candidates on mental toughness. Every month they show up for the Physical Screening Test (PST), which includes timed push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, a 1.5 mile run and a combat-style swim. The minimum standards are pretty rigorous and every month they’re expected to improve on the previous month’s scores. Needless to say: they’re under pressure and scrutiny. During my mental toughness brief, one of the candidates asked: “What should […]
Information is abundant and technology is cheap. At the same time, the good ‘ol financial models are changing. Linear, analytical thinking is not enough, and traders who don’t figure out how to access their creativity will fall behind. Listen in on the recording of my teleseminar interview with veteran trader and author Michael Bigger about his latest book, How Traders Achieve Creative Flow. Here are a few of the topics we covered in this truly content-rich call: Why creativity is […]
In my ebook, Focused and In the Flow, I came up with 21 tips for getting into the flow. Here’s tip #13 and a Nike ad that shows you how it works: Not inspired or excited by your immediate environment? Why not imagine a different one. Children do it all the time, transforming the living room into a haunted castle, one minute, or a jungle filled with spies, in the next. Why tether yourself, in spirit, to the same old […]
Often, what keeps us from getting in the flow is a mismatch between the challenge of an activity and our ability. Either the challenge is too great and we feel anxious; or not stimulating enough, and we are bored. The trick is to find a way to raise or decrease the challenge to better correspond to our ability. Watch how Tony Lepore, the “Dancing Cop,” does it.
Visit a bookstore and you can find any number of books telling you how to find your dream job (a “dream job” search on Amazon returns 513 results), from using the Internet to using the rules of dating. Clearly, there is a large number of people who do not have their dream job and want help finding it. For most of them, however, the transition will not happen overnight, and what those books don’t share is how to enjoy the […]