In today’s world of cutting edge competition, individual performance is tracked and monitored in every professional field.
So, to excel in any role or career, understanding your level of performance is crucial.
But how can we be sure this is what peak performance looks like?
Peak performance goes beyond simply doing our best. There is a secret to attaining the success offered by peak performance. And that’s exactly what we aim to uncover.
To decode the secret of peak performance, Mindvalley Founder and CEO Vishen Lakhiani talks with Jamie Wheal, co-author of Stealing Fire, in this Mindvalley podcast episode.
Jamie Wheal is one of the foremost experts in the field of achieving peak performance. He’s trained thousands of high performing individuals, including award-winning academics, athletes, commanders, and Fortune 500 business leaders.
If you want to be able to look at yourself and say: this is what peak performance looks like—then, Jamie is your go-to person.
So, let’s see what we can learn from Vishen and Jamie’s mind-blowing conversation on the Mindvalley podcast.
What’s The Difference Between Hustle Vs Flow?
The main problem to solve on the way to knowing this is what peak performance looks like is debunking the hustle vs flow paradox.
A lot of people believe in the hustle. They believe the only way to attain success is through endless hard work and application.
But the truth is, engaging in a different state, called ‘the flow,’ yields far more substantial results. And unlike the hustle, the state of flow is sustainable in the long term.
So, what is the flow and how can we attain it?
First, we must define the hustle.
What is hustle?
Hustle is a combination of hard work, ambition, and a constant push to achieve success.
Our society is dominated by the concept of the hustle. We’re constantly trying to beat out everyone around us to be the best.
But this comes at a tremendous cost of stress, decreased quality of life, and a hoard of other physiological and emotional problems.
As Jamie explains,
Tired by stress, prefrontal cortical activity, cortisol, fight or flight constantly on, and we don’t have other modes to shift into then we just fry our nervous systems.
What is flow?
Contrary to hustle, flow represents a state in which the right amount of effort comes easily with little to no outside pressure of competition.
Work is done effortlessly with a simple, sustained focus and what’s more: we actually enjoy what we’re doing.
Flow is most accurately characterized by the Taoist concept of effortless effort, as Jamie explains in the podcast.
And it’s only in the state of flow that you can achieve peak performance. It’s only when you achieve those states of consciousness that you are able to understand that this is what peak performance looks like.
It’s like a surfer banking on the waves and enjoying the ride. But like surfing, entering a state of flow requires training, skills, knowledge, energy, and focus.
When we engage in the hustle, we feel frazzled, overworked, tired, competitive, and aggressive.
When we engage in the flow, we feel dialed in, focused, free, adaptive, and productive.
The key difference? Your mental state.
Both the hustle and the flow are states of productivity. But they are drastically different in terms of how they feel, in mind, body, and spirit.
Are You Ready For The Flow?
For different adult developmental stages, there are different prime directives.
Not everyone is ready to get out of the hustle and enter a state of flow.
The first step in preparing to enter the flow is understanding the current developmental stage you are in.
And that’s because achieving flow and peak performance also has to do with a psychological state change.
According to the change management approach called spiral dynamics, there are 8 stages of adult developmental process:
- Energy and power
Starting from the level of instinctive survival, it goes all the way up to the stage of engaging in a holistic mindset that unifies all life processes.
The hustle mentality of competition, rivalry, aggression, and workaholism are most often seen in stages 1-5.
Moving beyond these stages means you’re ready to achieve a state of flow.
How To Achieve The Flow State
According to Jamie, in order to get into flow states, we have to change the rusty, frozen, shut radio-dial of our consciousness and change the channel to a fully different frequency.
In other words: it requires a radical shift. We tend to think of this shift as a psychological process, but you might be surprised by how physiological the flow state is.
We need to learn how to tune into a new frequency in which we can achieve different perspectives and physiological states.
In a flow state, your brainwaves, heart, and endocrine system come into perfect harmony with each other; a state that’s deeply rejuvenating, says Jamie.
Jamie and Vishen also share some valuable tips on achieving these states, both physical and psychological.
Here are some of the tips you can follow to achieve the powerful flow state:
1. The Waking Delta
Delta brain waves are usually achieved when we are asleep. But Vishen and Jamie explain we can access these brain wave states even when we are awake.
Waking delta is a challenging state to achieve and requires continuous deep meditation practices.
Once accessed, it can take you to states of high intuitiveness, insight, creativity, and productivity.
It’s like getting lobbed up into the interstellar information lattice and you can think whatever you want, about whatever you want with a 300 IQ for as long as your hang time.
— Jamie Wheal
2. Cardiac Coherence
Another crucial element for achieving the flow states is cardiac coherence.
Usually, our heart rate oscillates between an anabolic state (generative) to catabolic state (destructive).
But to achieve the flow state, we have to unlock cardiac coherence. This occurs when the heart rate becomes balanced with our other physiological variables, like vagal nerve tone and the endocannabinoid system.
Jamie and Vishen say that we can achieve this by training in meditations that involve love, kindness, compassion, and mindfulness.
Jamie also alludes to practicing breathing techniques and mixing substances like cannabis to stimulate serotonin and anandamide in the brain.
3. The Surrender Experiment
We are eternity and starlight dressed up as matter.
— Jamie Wheal
Another intriguing proposition put forward in the podcast is the path of surrender to achieve the flow state.
To surrender means to let go of yourself with all the burdens of your existence. You hand them over to the Universe and let life take care of things.
Because at the end of the day, the reality is that we are one with the Universe.
So, why do we toil and fry our nervous system with exhaustion and workaholism?
Why not let the Universe work through us?
That’s what surrendering means, and this is what peak performance looks like.
The state of hustle is characterized by a deep-seated belief that there is not enough: not enough money, not enough food, not enough abundance to go around.
The state of flow connects with a deeper truth: we live in a Universe of abundance and there is more than enough for us all.
To know more about all these novel aspects in detail, check out this podcast where Vishen and Jamie discuss this is what peak performance looks like.
Do you have any of your own ideas about entering flow and achieving peak performance? Please, share with us in a comment below!