Get in the Flow

Have you ever considered that one of the things that may be holding you back from reaching your dreams is that you may be trying too hard? Or, maybe you would make faster progress if you backed off just a little and started working smarter instead of harder?

Now, I know after hearing that first sentence what some of you may be thinking, "Glenn has jumped tracks and started singing a different song." Believe it or not, it's just the same old tune, but with a slightly different beat. If you can't learn and adapt in this world, progress will pass you by.

Here's what I'm talking about: It's called the Theory of Optimal Flow and it originated as a psychological model of maximizing work efficiency. The idea is that when things are just difficult enough to hold your attention, and your skill level is just high enough to complete a task, you will enter a "flow state" where time flies by. You will accomplish more with less perceived effort while increasing your skill level faster. It's kind of a balancing act that not only plays out in skill development at work but in every aspect of life.

Let's take for example that you want to get into shape so you start working out. You start with the basics and knock out 30 push-ups on your first day. That's all you can do before collapsing. Now, for the next 3 days, you are so sore that you can barely lift your arms. It is now 4 days before you have another go at it and do it again. At this rate, you are going to get in 91 workouts in a year and do 2,730 push-ups.

Now let's say you do only 10 push-ups. You don't over-exert yourself and you feel really good, so the next day you are able to do 10 more, and so on and so forth. In this scenario, you continue to do just 10 a day but you stay feeling good. Over the same time frame, you would do 3,650 push-ups. Of course, you'll be able to make increases along the way, but even at the same rate, that's almost 900 more!

Studies have proven that stressing is far superior to destroying for building strength and size. So as you can see, it's the same song as always: consistent effort. Daily is more consistent than once or twice a week and you're more likely to keep doing something that feels good than something that hurts.

This same principle applies whether you are building a relationship or saving money. Doing a little that you can handle without over-stressing will lead to greater gains faster, and you're less likely to burn out or give up!

We often look for the "grand gestures" or the "giant leaps". It's part of our culture to go "balls to the wall" but it may not be the best way to make progress. Get in the flow. Back off just enough to stay at the top edge of your comfort zone and you'll see how much faster progress will come.

You have got to take charge of your thoughts, feelings, and behavior but in an intelligent and sustainable way.

So, get in the flow and ride the waves to your own success!

My challenge for you this week:

Answer the following questions and challenge yourself to becoming a worthwhile improvement project.

  1. What is some aspect of your life that you want to improve?

  2. Do you see the "high value" of committing yourself to making this a target for change?

  3. How will achieving results in this target area change your life?

  4. What are some daily steps that you can comfortably commit to doing?

  5. How will you reward yourself for weekly progress?

Take time to begin this process today, while committing yourself to using it through the end of 2019, and enjoy the daily positive feeling of being in the flow!

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