Flow Genes

Volume 3, Issue 9

Thanks to Steven Kotler and the Flow Genome Project for their metaphor of the Human Genome Project as the kind of thing we need even more to facilitate Flow state. Now that thousands and maybe millions of us are experimenting and getting into this state, it has to become a world priority like the environment and the economy. In fact it can solve those and any other challenges we face, whereas the reverse is not true. If we start with the symptoms we will never reach the cure. Flow is where it all starts. Flow means better decision making and more creativity. If that is not exactly what we need, what is?

Love you say? Glad you added that. Love is actually the best pathway for the average person to reach Flow most quickly. Loving communication is the way for the masses to realize Flow state in our lifetimes — maybe the only way.

It starts with people we already love. We find Flow ways to communicate with them. They notice and appreciate the difference. We notice the stuck keys inside us that we get past to allow us to talk lovingly about another’s stuck keys in a way that feels good to everyone.

Getting back to the metaphor of genes, what could Steven and his colleagues mean? If I take it to mean that brain states and methods are the two ways of looking at the components within Flow, this metaphor has objective and subjective levels:

  1. Understanding what goes on in the brain in getting to and through Flow and the post-period and recycle — this is the scientific objective level that corresponds most exactly to the Human Genome Project, which decoded what information each gene carries;
  2. Understanding the methods we can each use to take advantage of this prior scientific understanding, where each method is a gene — this is the subjective interior method each individual takes by acts of will or automatically in order to experience Flow and maximize it. The subjective is operationally more important to us than the objective level, because it is only through willful inner experience shaping that we exercise any power to bring on one state or another.

The Human Effectiveness Institute has discovered numerous genes/methods for bringing on Flow more often. The Aha! Cultivation process is one of them that the Institute shares with Steven Kotler and his colleagues, who revealed only that one method at the ARF conference; we assume there are more methods/genes in the Flow Genome Project so far, and more to be discovered by cross-fertilization with other researchers like ourselves. Aha! is only one way in which Flow can be experienced — other methods get you there too. The book Mind Magic is a compendium of Flow genes/methods, not exhaustive of the entire long list. The book is focused on stimulating Flow state through the Observer state by the use of “inner head” language, which some see as poetry, to evoke moods that evidently change brain chemistry and shift energy patterns within different brain parts.

Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi who coined Flow, lists quite a few genes/methods such as the balance between skills and challenges, the autotelic enjoyment-driven way the individual comes to the game or métier, and a number of other great insights available in his books.

Daniel Goleman has also contributed genes/methods to the list. His dictum that a person needs about 10,000 hours of practice in something in order to become a candidate for Flow in that endeavor is illuminating. This is a gene that can guide us to selection of activities in which to attempt and monitor our success. Anything that guides the individual to use specific methods that actually work to get to Flow is a gene in the way I take, or perhaps take liberties with, the seminal metaphor Steven and the Flow Genome Project have cooked up.

The work of many people led to the discovery of the gene of previsualization, which is widely recognized to increase Flow.

The genes that our work has contributed include, to mention a few top of mind:

  1. Getting to the Flow state by getting to the Observer state first
  2. Thinking without words
  3. Burning out attachments
  4. Vigilant action to vitiate the power of distraction
  5. Unconditional Omnidirectional Love
  6. Fun
  7. Can-do attitude

I hope that someday when all the genes have been listed someone will organize them into something that looks like a space age version of Mendeleyev’s (periodic) table of the elements so we can see the relationships among the genes/methods/brain states and thereby have a better understanding of how each method works to change the brain state.

Best to all,

Bill

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