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I read Steven Kotler’s Art of Impossible this weekend. Steven writes in many of his books about the usage of flow to reach peak performance.

Steven explains that achieving a high flow state life is not only for athletes or geniuses. It is composed of two parts. First, finding alignment between our curiosity, passion, and purpose. Second, it is about scheduling our days around clear goals. Completing daily clear goals results in finishing hard goals, which all tie into our massively transformative purpose.

Steven recommends incorporating activities into our daily and weekly habits. Then stacking practices so we can make the most of our time.

Daily

  • Ninety to one hundred twenty minutes each day concentrating on your most important task.
    • Use one of your strengths in a new way during this time and stretch yourself.
  • Five minutes at the end of your day on distraction management to prepare for tomorrow’s concentration period.
  • Five minutes, making the next days' clear goals list.
    • Order tasks from most difficult to least difficult.
    • Always check off items from the list. Do not violate this rule.
    • You are only allowed to move a checklist item to the next day if it was too hard to achieve.
      • Chunk it down if it is too hard.
  • Five minutes on gratitude.
  • Twenty minutes spent on a release activity or mindfulness practice.
    • Prepare for this by reading books to free-associate ideas during recovery.
  • Twenty-five minutes of reading spent outside your expertise area.
    • Alternatively, you could master a skill instead of learning new information.
  • Get seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

Weekly

  • One to two times a week, spend between two and six hours on a high flow activity you enjoy.
    • Use these activities to deploy flow triggers and push yourself. Take risks, train grit, use a core strength a new way.
  • Exercise an hour three times a week.
    • Use exercises that use multiple sensory systems like trail running.
  • Recover three times a week between twenty and forty minutes.
    • Massage, yoga, sauna, etc.
  • Train a weakness or train yourself to be the best at your worst thirty to sixty minutes once a week.
  • Once a week, get feedback on your work you’ve done in the long uninterrupted concentration periods.
  • Be socially active for one hundred and twenty minutes once a week.

Stacking Practices

  • Train grit when you exercise.
  • Read books to prepare your active recovery periods for pattern recognition.
  • Make a list of 25 things that make you curious and find intersections between them when you recover.
  • Clear goals each day should stretch you towards novel, complex, unpredictable new outcomes.
  • Find someone to give you great specific feedback on tasks.
  • Take safe risks.
  • During socializing practice group flow triggers such as “Yes, and”.

Conclusion

Steven is a great researcher and provides evidence for these claims in the book. I look forward to incorporating these ideas into my daily practice. Try these three activities.

  • Start your day working on your most arduous task for ninety to one hundred twenty minutes.
  • Exercise, rest, and recovery are required.
  • Scheduling clear goals each day leads to us achieving our massive life-changing goals.
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