The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Focused Flow

Focused Flow

In asking people for suggestions for my Writer's Block project, I realized that my perspective on the problem is an inability to freely shift between editing and flow modes. That "Focused Flow" is, for about 80% of people, the real issue--everything else is removing obstacles to this quality, and letting your best self issue forth.

Last Sunday I was speaking with the greatest martial artist it has been my honor to know personally, the phenomenal Steve Muhammad. And the topic of how to help students enter this critical mental/emotional state while maintaining technical precision was central to the discussion.

In martial arts, sexuality, driving, writing...countless disciplines the question is how to have the basic skills at Unconscious Competence so that flow can be entered, and you can just...well, enjoy the ride.

This "Focused Flow" is the lowest level of the esoteric mind, the doorway to your highest performance. To access it there must be a balance between challenge and familiarity, pain and pleasure, attention and intention. It is here that your instinct and education blend to create an artistic response...and I don't think it would be too much to say that every student I've ever had has, in one way or another, sought it.

The first step is to ADMIT YOU DESIRE IT. Then you can define how it would look and feel, and begin to identify the quality when and where it already appears in your life, and people who have greater amounts of it than you...and then begin to model them.

That means adding some behaviors, removing others, and modifying some. It will be a combination of emotions, mental focus, physical energy, and environmental design. It is your doorway to excellence.

Whatever your abilities, whatever your potential, whatever "mastery" means in your life...this is absolutely a component. Embrace it!

(And stay tuned for an announcement about your permanent solution to this problem...coming soon!)

Steven Barnes