If you want to do more, learn more, and gain more, you might want to think like a surfer.
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Surfing is a 1,000-year-old sport, and 20 years ago the biggest wave ever ridden was 25 feet. Today surfers push into waves 100 feet tall. Or consider snowboarding: In 1992, the biggest gap ever cleared was 40 feet; today that jump is 230 feet.
What’s behind the insane progress in adventure sports? Flow, says Steven Kotler, author of The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance.
“Flow is an optimal state of consciousness, when you feel and perform your best,” he says. “It’s the moment of total absorption. Time speeds up or slows down like a freeze-frame effect. Mental and physical ability go through roof, and the brain takes in more information per second, processing it more deeply.”
Sometimes called “being in the zone,” flow isn’t just an experience for record-breaking athletes. “It’s ubiquitous,” says Kotler. “Anybody anywhere can apply the triggers for any task. And the amount of time someone spends in flow has a massive and powerful correlation to life satisfaction.”