SURFING • FLOW • MEDITATION
Surfing is one of my favourite gateways to flow. The complexity of riding the raw energy of an ever-changing wave focuses the mind like few other activities do. When we achieve flow we feel what is possible by unleashing our full human potential.
Training the mind through meditation and other mind-body practices can help bring this flow out of the ocean and into every day life.
In doing so you reclaim your primal powers of intuition, rapid decision making, inner intelligence and creativity. You also gift yourself space in which you can grow and the wisdom to know which direction to head.
Surfing is part of my path to self-mastery and growth. It should be part of yours also!
Here are 4 simple tips that can be added to every aspect of our lives:
1. Develop single minded concentration. If we are distracted during any task it will be impossible find flow. Building the strength of attention and focus is how we combat distraction. One method to do this is by engaging in activities that require deep awareness, such as meditation, Yoga, Tai Chi, rock climbing or reading books. In meditation you are training the mind to achieve a single pointed focus. The more we can do this, the more we will find flow.
How to apply your focus? Notice how the ones getting all the waves are those focused on the incoming sets, eyes scanning the horizon, working out where best to sit. Concentrate on your environment, don't just follow the crowd- work out the conditions yourself and you will get more waves. Visualise what you want to achieve.
2. Challenge yourself, but not too much. The skill to challenge ratio is a key ingredient to achieving flow. The difficulty of your task has to be just right. If it is too easy, you will get bored. If the task is too difficult, you will get frustrated. Either way, you won't find flow. There has to be exactly the right ratio of challenge to skill so be aware of making things harder or easier to maximise the chance to flow.
Choose the right spot and equipment that will provide the appropriate challenge for your skills. If beach A is breaking too fast and steep for your skills, you will get frustrated and will not find flow. However, if you go to the kiddies corner and ride mush, you will fall off the other end of the flow spectrum and get bored quickly. If riding the massive board has become too easy go smaller. Constantly be aware of keeping the challenge just on the edge of your skill level. The sweet spot is that area just outside your comfort zone- if you push yourself constantly into that fertile zone, you will find yourself in deep flow... and your performance will rocket.
3. Create clear goals to achieve. Goals establish a benchmark to measure progress and provide a sense of achievement. If you know the direction you are headed, and have a clear idea of your objective you massively increase the opportunity for flow. Decide before your surf what you want to work on. Create a clear goal. If you decide you want to achieve a deeper duck dive or a smoother bottom turn focus on that for the entire surf and analyse afterwards how you performed.
4. Create a feedback loop. Flow becomes self-perpetuating when our brain receives the message that we are on the right track. In action, this means you either complete the task or you don’t, you catch the wave or you don’t, either you land the jump or your stack it. The great thing about surfing and any sport, is that it automatically creates the feedback loop. If you nailed the bottom turn, you will know it as it will feel amazing… and you will want more!
We run adventure retreats focused on guiding you to deeper awareness, more flow and higher performance. Join us in the MALDIVES for the adventure of the lifetime and a chance to explore flow and much more.
Have a think about how you can apply these 4 tips into your daily life and into your hobbies to find more flow and achieve higher performance.
Let us know in the comments below how you find your flow!