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The Flow-promoting Universe: Nothing New Under the Sun

Highlights of ongoing research and tools in the Flow-space



I've been investigating #flowbaseddecisionmaking and #flowbasedleadership in the fire service since 2007. What an amazing journey! 


However, I'm not the only one who has been going down the flow-path. There are others doing amazing things to help people operate in flow more often and effectively.

While we are all coming at this idea of maximizing flow-states from different angles, we are all feeling driven to make the world a better place by helping people flow more often.

While flow has very distinct characteristics, which were quantified by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi over 30 years ago in his studies of "optimal experience", getting to flow is slightly different for everyone. It is important, therefore, to conduct ongoing research using different methods and coming from different angles to provide multiple ways of knowing around the topic of "flow". Here is a bit of the current landscape of this ongoing research:


Csikszentmihalyi has partnered with Zsadany Zad Vecsey and Zoltan Buzady to create a flow-promoting game called FLIGBY (FLow Is Good Business for You). Companies around the world have used this game to learn about flow and how flow-states increase productivity and well-being in organizations. I will be blogging specifically about #FLIGBY soon.


Jamie Wheal and Steven Kotler, authors of Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work, created the Flow Research Collective, which continues to do ongoing research, as well as offer opportunities for individuals and teams to explore "flow hacking".  Steven has since started Flow Research Collective. Graduates of their courses are creating and sharing their own ideas about flow. For example, Kevin Votaw has actually created a formula for flow that is spot on. You can see it here in a blog about what Wheal and Kotler call "hedonistic calendaring" (which is remarkably similar to my own Strategic Planning for Your Life™ (SPYL) program).


Two professors at Stanford, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, wrote a best seller called Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-lived, Joyful Life and teach a class on this topic at Stanford. Their methodology is also similar to Wheal and Kotler's "hedonistic calendaring" and my SPYL program. 


Dr. Jeffery Martin (a classmate of mine) has been conducting well-being research for over 10 years. This is the largest international study on persistent non-symbolic experience (PNSE). This work has "resulted in the first reliable, cross-cultural and pan-tradition classification system for these types experience. It also led to the fundamental discovery that these were psychological states that had been identified and adopted for thousands of years by many cultures and belief systems. They were not inherently spiritual or religious, or limited to any given culture or population, and could be molded in many ways to shape the experience." To make this work accessible and relevant, Jeffery has created the Finder's Course and the Explorer's Course. The people who go through these courses report profound life transformations. 


Mikey Siegel (another classmate of mine) works at the intersection of tech and well-being to affect a life in flow. Mikey works "to create tools that facilitate people’s own path toward higher consciousness, self-realization, awakening" as defined by each individual's experience of transcendence. You can learn more about his projects and see his TEDx talk here.


Dr. Jennifer Moss Breen (my co-editor and co-author in Visionary Leadership in a Turbulent World: Thriving in the New VUCA Context) researches and writes about the concept of resilience, which is essential to being able to experience flow. Jennifer focuses on leadership resilience and leadership humility.


There really is nothing new under the sun. We are all out here building on what others are doing--weaving and re-weaving--hoping that our work will resonate with those who need to hear it in the moment.


The common denominator is #FLOW and our desire to make the world a better place.

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