Have you ever noticed how life seems to be playing a cruel joke on us? We spend the first quarter of our lives trying to grow up too fast, the second quarter trying to slow down the aging process, and the last half in denial, pretending that we’re not getting any older (while secretly using whale semen moisturizers, fecal facials, and snake massages).
But what if I told you that there’s a way to not only slow down the aging process but also unlock your full potential?
No, I’m not talking about botox, heart valve replacement, a magical fountain of youth, or a time machine. I’m talking about the intersection of aging and flow science— where peak performance meets longevity, and old is just a state of mind.
Grow With The Flow To Future-Proof Your Mind
Are you one of those people who are exhausted watching men in spandex race up a mountain in the Tour De France? To you it’s impossible, to them— it’s instinctive. The cyclists are immersed in flow. The same goes for the chess player immersed in a match, or a J.K. Rowling writing 4,100 pages over the span of six years for her Hogwarts legacy.
You can learn how to grow with the flow with practical mind hacks.
Does “hacking your brain” sound woohoo? When I was first introduced to the power of “using our minds to create the life you desire”, it seemed foreign and nuts but years later, I get it. Learning how to harness the power of my mind changed my life and my brain— I actually understand the “science of manifestation” aka making things happen.
Going with the flow means skimming through life unconsciously.
Growing with the flow is making things happen with purpose and intention.
The learning process is a journey and you can’t skip steps. No shortcuts, remember?
Don’t worry, I’m not here to waste your time. I believe in manifestation but there is emerging science behind it. One of the biggest secrets to longevity is to enjoy the journey— the process of learning. Keeping your brain stimulated keeps your mind, body, and soul young.
So grab a coffee— put a scoop of collagen powder in it since we lose collagen as we age— and let’s explore the fascinating world of flow states and longevity. It’s time to trade in your old rust bucket for a shiny new model anyway.
“Old” Is A Mindset
Some people never seem to grow up but for most of us as we go through life, our ego begins to quiet and our perspectives widen.
We’re all going to end up at the same place but when you learn to access our natural state of mind that happens in flow states, we drop into deep work effortlessly, “creating more time”, improving our cognitive abilities, creativity, and overall well-being. Flow is the secret to adult development and aging like fine wine.
Here are some characters who didn’t achieve success until later in life, proving that old is just a mindset and you can pivot, reinvent yourself, or do something different at any season of your life. I mean, why not? Why do you want to be doing the same thing your entire life?
- Vera Wang, this incredible fashion designer didn’t start designing her own clothes until she was 40. Prior to that, she was a figure skater and a fashion editor.
- Stan Lee, the creator of many popular characters, including Spider-Man and X-Men, didn’t create his first hit character until he was in his 40s.
- Julia Child: The famous chef and author didn’t publish her first cookbook until she was 50.
- Ray Kroc, the man who turned McDonald’s into a global fast-food empire didn’t become involved with the company until he was 52 years old.
- Colonel Harland Sanders, the founder of KFC, didn’t become successful until he was 65 years old. Prior to that, he had a string of failed jobs and businesses.
- Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the Little House on the Prairie series didn’t publish her first book until she was 65 years old.
- Grandma Moses, the American folk artist did not begin painting until she was in her 70s. She became famous in her 80s and continued to paint until her death at the age of 101.
What About These Incredible Athletes?
- Edwina Brocklesby, a 78-year-old “Iron-Gran” triathlete who didn’t start exercising until her husband passed away at 52. She ran her first marathon at 53 and triathlon at 58 and still going at it.
- Eddy Diget, UK’s oldest personal trainer at 78 years young. He’s never been in a hospital up until he was 74 to get bowel cancer removed and hasn’t had any pain since then.
- 97-year-old, Roy Englert, who knows he’s living on borrowed time feels feel good, “I’m having fun.” He set a world record for a 5,000-meter race in 42 minutes for men in the 95-to-99 group when he was 97. Not bad for someone who didn’t start running until he was 60.
The Relationship Between Flow States and Longevity
There’s a huge correlation between those with high amounts of flow and those who report high levels of life satisfaction and happiness. Research into communities with extraordinary longevity, those known as the Blue Zones, reveals secrets to the HEALTHYxWEALTHY life:
- Eating well.
- Living with purpose.
- As little stress as possible.
- Community and strong social connections.
All those can be achieved if you learn how to trigger flow states and honor the flow cycle that enhances your focus, self-esteem, and performance leading to a greater sense of well-being. We will dive deeper into that later.
7 Longevity Philosophies To Live By
When I think of living the good life, here are philosophies and mantras to embody:
- Age is just a number.
- Return to simplicity.
- Food is medicine.
- Movement is life.
- Annihilate stress.
- Mindset is key.
- Less is more.
Aging is now classified as a disease. Aging is one of our common denominators as a species yet our society tends to forget or outcast the elderly— and ironically, we’re all going to be “old” one day. There is an entire economy of intelligent, older folks who make substantial contributions to the economy through philanthropy and purchases and can bestow younger people with much-needed life lessons. We think our life ends after midlife, but what if it’s just beginning?
As we age chronologically, most of us get brighter and we should do as much as we can to harness that precious wisdom. Even though our physical selves may inevitably deteriorate, we can slow down the biological aging process.
When you optimize your life for longevity, you’re preparing your body to live a life full of health, happiness, energy, and good vibes. Not sure about you, but I’m all about those good vibes.
Aging is like a river, we can either grow with the flow or fight against the current. It’s up to us to choose.
Flow trains you to drop into absolute focus, which produces flow states that lower stress so you can accomplish tasks in a fraction of the time, allowing you to live a life of curiosity, passion, purpose, autonomy, and mastery. These five intrinsic motivators are essential to living an excellent, extensive life.
When you‘re in flow, you’re using your biology to your advantage. When it comes to our physiology, brains, and muscles, it’s a use-it-or-lose-it situation. Our muscles naturally deteriorated and decline once we hit mid-life but if properly trained, we can extend the lifespan of our physical beings so can essentially run around like children even in old age (maybe just a bit slower).
The 8 Characteristics Of Flow
Flow is an altered state of consciousness where everything is effortless when you are fully consumed in a task and not realizing how many hours have passed by. Some refer to it as “The Deep Now” or “in the zone”— where one is completely present.
- The Golden Ratio: Challenge-To-Skill Balance: we pay attention to the task at hand when the challenge slightly exceeds our skillset. The task should be 4% more difficult than your maximum capacity. Higher, you’ll give up because it’s too hard. Lower, you’ll get bored. We want to stretch but not snap → get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
- Complete Focus: flow state requires a high level of concentration on the task at hand as if everything else disappears. Achieve this by practicing distraction management.
- Loss of Self-Consciousness: those in a flow state lose a sense of self-awareness, and become completely absorbed in the present moment. What’s happening is transient hypo-frontality, the temporary shutdown of your high cognitive function in your prefrontal cortex where you experience your “sense of self.” Your PFC also calculates time…
- Time Dilates: it’s as if time exists at a different pace when you’re in flow— much slower. There seems to be even more time, plunging you into the “deep now”.
- “Effortless” Effort: Despite the high level of focus and effort required, individuals in a flow state experience a sense of ease and effortlessness.
- Sense of Control: Those in flow have a strong sense of autonomy and their own abilities.
- Intrinsically Fulfilling: flow is associated with joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment.
- Increased creativity and productivity: being in a flow state heightens creativity and up to 500% increased productivity, leading to insane levels of achievement.
5 Intrinsic Motivators For Flow
Do you know how it feels to go to bed so excited to wake up the next day? To be excited for Mondays? To live every day as if it was a Friday?
That’s how it feels to be living with purpose and growing with the flow, the ingredients for vigorous longevity.
Let’s get intrinsically motivated by the wise words of the Father of Flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi to learn about the basic motivators for longevity:
1. Curiosity: Flow Is The Secret To Creativity
“Creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives…most of the things that are interesting, important, and human are the results of creativity…when we are involved in it, we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life. If one has failed to develop curiosity and interest in the early years, it is a good idea to acquire them now, before it is too late to improve the quality of life.
“After curiosity, this quality of concentrated attention is what creative individuals mention most often as having set them apart in college from their peers. Without this quality, they could not have sustained the hard work, the ‘perspiration.’ Curiosity and drive are in many ways the yin and the yang that need to be combined to achieve something new.”
Upgrading your mindset is the most important aspect when it comes to living a long, fruitful life into your older years. Instead of fearing old age, get curious about it. Curiosity and anxiety come from the same neurochemical, norepinephrine. Learn to reframe your anxiety as curiosity, which will give you a purpose to live.
Studies have found associations between higher curiosity and greater creativity— which is also fundamental for problem-solving. Life is pretty much a string of problems: you solve one and another one is created. Flow teaches you to become a good problem-solver so you live a longer life.
When you’re curious about something, you don’t have to struggle to spend much effort moving forward so curiosity is one of the fundamental triggers to flow.
Steven Kotler says curiosity is designed, biologically, to be built into passion.
2. Passion: Flow Trains You To Live On The Edge Of Discomfort.
“If you are interested in something, you will focus on it, and if you focus attention on anything, it is likely that you will become interested in it. Many of the things we find interesting are not so by nature, but because we took the trouble of paying attention to them.”
Passions are not found, they’re created with— consistency. To find your passion, you have to be willing to find something you’re interested in (curiosity) and stick with it long enough for it to turn into a passion.
Passion spikes norepinephrine and dopamine, both of which are powerful neurochemicals for driving focus into the present moment and getting into a state of flow. The recipe to passion includes Curiosity → Flow → Passion > Focused Attention → Repeat.
Once you find your passion, the momentum leads you to purpose.
3. Purpose: Flow Enhances Learning
“Purpose provides activation energy for living.”
Our brain shrinks with age affecting physical and mental health. Mastery and wisdom is the best way to prevent cognitive decline in old age and since flow accelerates learning, rediscovering a purpose can be the secret ingredient to living a long life. When we stop stimulating our brain with passions, curiosities, and a reason to live, it becomes stagnant and we die.
You don’t have to be doing the same thing your entire life. It’s okay to pivot, reinvent, or rebrand you at any season of your life. Don’t listen to anyone who’ll tell you otherwise.
Victor Frankl taught us during his time in a concentration camp that the meaning of life is to have a purpose, a reason to wake up— a reason to live. You can find your purpose by discovering your passion.
Once you find that purpose, you need the freedom— autonomy to pursue your purpose.
4. Autonomy: Flow Boosts Well-Being
“Flow is the process of achieving happiness through control over one’s inner life. The optimal state of inner experience is order in consciousness. This happens when we focus our attention (psychic energy) on realistic goals and when our skills match the challenges we face.”
The word autonomy comes from the combination of Greek words for “self” and “law”— self-governing. Self-control. We are wired for autonomy otherwise lack thereof leads to depression and anxiety. Since one of the characteristics of flow states is a sense of control, harnassing this trait furthers your journey into growing with the flow.
5. Mastery: Flow Upgrades Your Resilience For Mental Endurance
“The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times…the best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limited in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”
To achieve mastery, you need to play the long game because nothing worthwhile comes easy and peak performers don’t take shortcuts. Understanding how to trigger flow states and what blocks flow will build the grit and resilience needed to perform at your best and be in it for the long haul.
Since flow enables you to drop into the zone to produce work at 500% capacity, eliminating all distractions, you can master skills in a fraction of the time.
Growing with the flow means finding a way to express what moves you. Your future is determined by your dreams and your struggle to turn them into reality. By harnessing the intersection of flow science and longevity, you can turn those dreams to future-proof your mind, body, and soul for remarkable longevity and healthspan.
“The first step is to develop the habit of doing whatever needs to be done with concentrated attention, with skill rather than inertia. Even the most routine tasks, like washing dishes, dressing, or mowing the lawn become more rewarding if we approach them with the care it would take to make a work of art. The next step is to transfer some psychic energy each day from tasks that we don’t like doing, or from passive leisure, into something we never did before, or something we enjoy doing but don’t do often enough because it seems too much trouble. There are literally millions of potentially interesting things in the world to see, to do, to learn about. But they don’t become actually interesting until we devote attention to them.”— Mihaly Csikszentmihaly