Flow requires training. Every flow session is designed to inspire, educate and train our minds for flow.
– Even the ‘legends’ wipe out
– There is no failure only feedback
– Are you ego or mastery orientated?
– Encourage curiosity in our ‘failings’
– Failures are critical for flow
Flow Session – Mastering My Game
I was recently at the World Surf Tour and was reminded by Kelly Slater’s wipe out (watch the fall) that even the best of the best have to pick themselves up and start again. That same day I was speaking with Tom Carroll about joining The Flow Centre, who had just taken a beating whilst surfing – injuring his hip, and was again reminded that the ‘greats’ of our time fall just as much as the rest of us – if not harder.
Michael Jordon once said, ÔÇ£I ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career, I ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty six times, I ve been entrusted with the game-winning shot and missed. I ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that why I succeed.ÔÇØ
These experiences reminded me that failure is actually an essential step to finding flow. Our performances must not be about avoiding failure but embracing it.
Surely, failure is bad?
Flow requires the moment to be challenging. It demands that we face the risk of failure, as it is exactly this catalyst that pushes us to find that extra gear, immerse ourselves within the activity, and find flow.
When we fail we are given a multitude of opportunities to learn. It exposes our strengths and weaknesses giving us the vital fuel and direction to go back to the training ground and work on. We learn far more in our loses than we ever will in our successes – if we are open to flow.
There is no failure, only feedback. Failure, along with the connected shame and frustration, come from our attachment to winning, and being better than. Most of us perform at our best when we lose or fail, as it is in these moments that we are tested to our limits. Yet, we often diminish these experiences to negative experiences – as we failed!
When our focus is on mastering our games and mastering our minds, these moments are otherwise celebrated. Not only do we value the rich feedback that is otherwise near impossible to receive, but as our focus is on our own level of excellence we celebrate our performance standard over and above winning or loosing.
When we find ourselves frustrated – instead of entertaining the snowball of thoughts that proceed – we must ruthlessly self-assess whether we are performing from an egoic mindset (one of winning and comparisons) or a mastery mindset (one that is dedicated to our own excellence and flow).
But how do I know when I have adopted a mastery mindset?
We will know when we have fully adopted a mastery mindset as the frustration will have disappeared. Previous moments of frustration will be exchanged with a curiosity that is focused on potential opportunities to improve; we will be free of debilitating anxiety and frustration and free to trust our training and enter flow.
In the same way some people are so afraid of dying they never live, in order to find flow we must overcome our fear of failure, whether that is losing or looking like a fool. We must embrace these moments as signposts that we are pushing our limits – expanding our capacity.
“There is no failure, only feedback.” – Every time you fall, repeat this phrase and you naturally start adopting a mastery mindset.
Do 3 things this week to challenge yourself above the norm. Do something that you are almost certain to fail at, and observe your reactions. Search to seek out curiosity rather than frustration. Start viewing losing or falling as the ideal training ground for learning.