Let’s talk about risk.
A few years ago, a young Australian jumped out of a plane.
Out in the open air, he planned to clear the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado.
Once above and beyond the bridge, he’d parachute to safety.
Instead, he slammed into the bridge at 120 mph and pummeled into the rocks below.
He died on impact with the bridge.
BASE jumping attracts athletes the world over. It’s a high-risk activity that can put you into flow.
But with an almost nonexistent margin for error… the risks of BASE jumping are through the roof. And tragedies like what happened to 30-year-old Dwain Weston (above) are all too common.
Herein lies the problem (opportunity):
Risk is a reliable flow trigger. It upsurges the amount of norepinephrine and dopamine in your system.
Very few people actually like the feeling of adrenaline. But damn near all of us will line up for a hard hit of dopamine and norepinephrine.
So how do we get this flow-inducing performance boost… without the disastrous dangers that action sports athletes crave?
There’s good news on that front:
The research shows that high-consequence flow triggers don’t require physical risk. You can put yourself into riskier social environments, creative environments, or intellectual environments.
Ask any doctor in training: medical school is a high-consequence intellectual environment.
What we’re aiming for is the sweet spot:
Just enough risk to kick you into high-gear, but not enough risk for you to crash into the curb.
Social risks are a fantastic flow trigger, and a solid starting point. The brain treats social danger as mortal danger––because, until recently, that’s exactly what it was.
No leaps from planes required.
Here are a few practical suggestions for increasing risk (and triggering flow):
1. Work with the primary stakeholder watching over your shoulder
(This might feel like the boss is breathing down your neck… but it also might boost your performance if you embrace the risk).
Imagine that the words you are writing right now, in real-time, are being read by the person for whom you are writing. Since you’ve only got one shot… How would you say it? And what would you not say?
2. Get an accountability buddy and do a pre-and-post work check-in
A simple approach is to hop on a call with a friend for 10 minutes and both share exactly what you’re about to accomplish over the next hour. Then, you get to work.
Afterward, hop on a call with your friend again and report your results. Don’t let them down.
3. Agree to a deadline that others are counting on you to meet
This one can be tough, especially for creatives. It’s rough to work under the gun sometimes. But it’s also exactly what you need to increase risk and use it as a flow trigger.
Make the deadline tight enough for you to sweat, but not enough for you to stress yourself sick.
If you apply these triggers to your current workflow, you’ll get into flow fully, and more frequently.
And you get to enjoy the rapid results (without the dire consequences).
Seeking for you the best FLOW Triggers,