Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes it as “complete immersion in an activity”. Steven Kotler describes it as “ultimate human performance”. They’re talking about Flow. In this blog post we discuss flow states and higher productivity with magic.
Flow And Higher Productivity Explanation
Flow, in short is when a person feels and performs their best. In a flow state a person is faster, happier, better in almost every way. As a result they’re able to achieve things that would otherwise be impossible. Every Olympic gold medal and world record to date has flow as a main contributor and as a result we’ve seen people make more significant advancements in the last 25 years than in our entire human history. People are now achieving things that were once said to be impossible, all while in a state of flow.
When talking about flow the skill/challenge curve is crucial. You’ll see a graph below that shows you what it is. Taken from Csikszentmihalyi’s “The Flow”, it’s one of the important conditions to finding flow.
For more extensive literature on Flow use the following links:
My Flow And Magic Background
What you’re about to read comes from lengthy discussions between myself and renowned author and journalist, Steven Kotler. Everything is based on my decades of experience as a magician performing in thousands of different scenarios, with different kinds of people. While not all of the information is groundbreaking, my applications for it are new and unique. The story I tell at the end is real but the names of the people are not. It’s a good example of the impact that magic has.
The Magic Part Of Flow And Higher Productivity
Achieving flow states and higher productivity with magic is possible, and something that everyone should take in to consideration. Low grade flow states can be curated in a lot of different ways, from a dopamine fuelled first date to exercising, writing an essay or knitting. In addition to the activity there are lots of conditions that contribute to curate the flow state, such as food, music, smell and aesthetic of your surroundings. However, pushing through low grade flow states in to deeper, more powerful levels of flow has greater requirements.
Often, an element of danger and thus a release of adrenaline transitions in to higher states of flow but in every day life these moments are accidental. One area of life where this isn’t accidental, for example, is extreme sports. Imagine a skier jumping out of a helicopter at the top of a mountain. They have to be completely focused on skiing to the bottom, ideally without injury. At this level of extreme sports injuries can be fatal and it only takes a small mistake or distraction.
Where Magic Meets Flow
Magic has rather unique properties, unlike most performance arts. Close-up magic where people are part of the experience works best. With other forms of entertainment, like dance or music audience members only watch and admire but with magic they’re part of the experience. Recently, Teller (of magic duo, Penn & Teller) said “magicians are sexier than lab rats to neuroscientists” and it’s true. You see, magic demands a high level of concentration to follow what’s happening. When the “magic” part happens your brain rewards you for it. Magic shows with the required elements are a catalyst for flow.
How Magic And Flow Can Help You
Now we tie everything I’ve spoken about together. Being “in flow” not only makes someone more productive but also helps reset you by flushing your brain with chemicals. In turn this helps to boost levels of happiness, change moods, spark creativity and increase productivity. It’s a good overall process for having balanced mental health. Companies hire me to visit them on Monday mornings and run sessions that have this affect. The staff return to their desks with a similar fresh mindset as returning to work after being on holiday. For booking enquiries hit “book Scott” in the top left. Alternatively, hire a good close-up magician for your next party. It’s highly likely that a good close-up magician will have this affect. It’s important to remember this works best in small groups and everything must be well structured.
So that’s it. A brief exploration to achieving flow states and higher productivity with magic. Before I go, below is an example of how magic can affect the human brain.
Real World Experience Of Flow States With Magic
I once visited a friend, who we will call Ben. I arrived to his house and his partner was home, who we’ll call Jane. Ben and Jane just had an argument. Ben said to me you haven’t visited us in the happiest time so instead of having a cup of tea at home we all went out to a local cafe. The walk to the cafe felt tense and awkward but small talk got us through. We arrived to the cafe and ten minutes of pleasantries were exchanged but Jane wasn’t engaged at all. Jane obviously wasn’t happy so I asked if she wanted to see a new magic trick. Instantly Jane perked up and Ben felt that happiness, which changed the atmosphere. Enthralled with the magic trick, Jane was now full of life and wanted to be part of the conversation. Jane was reset using with magic.
September 19th, 2019