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Interactive video lesson plan for: Understanding (Neural) Flow Triggers, with Steven Kotler

Activity overview:

There are seventeen triggers for flow that can each draw your attention to the now. Mastering flow means building these triggers into your life. Two of these triggers are high consequences and deep embodiment. Kotler explains how these triggers enact flow for people ranging from snowboarders to surfers to Montessori students.

Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/playlists/the-optimized-brain-a-workshop-on-flow-states-with-steven-kotler

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What we’ve learned lately is that there are 17 triggers for flow. These are preconditions that bring on more flow. And when you strip them all down flow follows focus, right. It is a state that can only show up in the now, in the present tense. So what all these triggers are are ways of driving our attention into the now. To put it more formally they’re the ways evolution shaped our brain to pay attention to the moment. The easiest way to have flow and the people who are most successful at it have built their lives around these triggers. So let me give you a couple of examples. There are three environmental triggers or external triggers that precipitate flow. The first of them is most obvious. It’s high consequences. When there’s a lot of risk in the environment we pay more attention to what’s going on. This is obvious in action and adventure sports which are very, very high in flow, produce a lot of flow so obviously a lot of high consequences in action and adventure sports.

When I talk to people who are not athletes, who are not interested in this, the interesting thing is you don’t need physical risk. You do need risk because it focuses attention but you can replace the physical risk with emotional risk, intellectual risk, creative risk, social risk. Social risk works extremely well because the brain cannot tell the difference between social fear and social pain and physical fear and physical pain. They’re processed in the exact same structures and it sounds weird until you realize that go back 300 years ago and exile meaning social banishment – you screwed up socially, the tribe kicked you out. It was a capital crime, it was capital punishment, you couldn’t exist really outside of the tribe unless maybe you were Daniel Boone, right. We process social fear the same place we process physical fear which is why, for example, fear of public speaking is the number one fear in the world and it’s not, say, getting mauled by a grizzly bear, right. [transcript truncated]

Directed/Produced by Jonathan Fowler, Elizabeth Rodd, and Dillon Fitton

Tagged under: Steven Kotler,Brain,Flow State,Flow,Zone,Action,Adventure,Sports,Creativity,Cortex,Flow Genome Project,Neuroelectricity,Neurochemistry,Trigger,Neuroanatomy,Effectiveness,Mind,Control,Big Think,BigThink,BigThink.,Education,Educational,Lifelong Learning,EDU

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