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3 Questions That Will Immediately Ramp Up Your Creative Flow

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If you’d like to learn how to ramp up your creative flow so you can produce your best work, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.


While creativity has long been co-opted by the arts, anyone that’s been in business, built a new product, or pitched a new sales deck knows that creative thinking and execution aren’t only for the painters and poets but for everyone that wants to or–as so often the case as an entrepreneur–needs to think and work differently. At the heart of creative work is not talent, inspiration, or the hope of an epiphany; it’s flow.

Flow is that state of performance in which we do our best work. Free from distractions, ultra-focused and challenged, our brains engage our work at its deepest level; ideas come, time flies, and the world around us seems to disappear. This is the zone to which athletes aspire, and the Groove for which artists hunger. 

Flow is a state of creativity and productivity that exists in the liminal space between work and play and if you want to think better and produce stronger results in any context, it is to Flow that you must look at.

Flow is not a hack or a trick. You can’t just turn it on or off, but you can create it, anytime and anyplace. In a 1996 article in Wired Magazine (Go With the Flow), writer John Geirland quotes Hungarian-American psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi as describing Flow as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.” He should know; he discovered the idea.

A prolific and creative man himself, Csikszentmihalyi was the man who first identified this phenomenon. His 1990 book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, introduced and explained it to the world, and it deserves better than a short article boiling it down to essentials. But there are conditions in which Flow occurs, and if you can get there intentionally, you will get to that state of optimal performance faster.

“Be still like a mountain and flow like a great river.” – Lao Tzu

Here are three questions I ask myself to get to Flow:

1. Am I Focused?

Flow depends on focus and that’s an increasingly rare commodity. Our attention is a resource and among driven people and high performers, it’s often put into overdraft by the belief that we can multitask. Of course we can multitask, but study after study shows we don’t do it well and if you want to get to Flow, it’s not about doing as much as you can while paying as little attention as possible. There’s next to no return on investment for paying that kind of attention.

Flow is about peak performance and doing your best work, not a hack driven by a desire to accomplish the mediocre. If you want to do your best work, the work that will distinguish you from others, it must be given your undivided attention. That means turning off the distractions completely, making yourself unavailable, and doing one thing only for longer blocks of time. 

Flow requires attention and time, and won’t be placated by half-measures. The emails and texts and social media can wait. The upside is that those can also benefit from Flow. Save them for blocks of time in which you can give them your full attention and you’ll make fewer mistakes and do more than just distractedly mail them in.

2. Am I Challenged?

One of the more interesting ideas is that Flow occurs most reliably when you are operating at the vector where skill and challenge meet. Our best work is not done when it’s an easy match for our skills; that rarely holds our interest long enough for Flow to occur.

Our creativity needs challenge, it needs something to push against and a problem to solve. But one must not overpower the other. If the challenge, relative to our ability to pull it off, is too great, we start freaking out and we’ll lose the focus that’s so important and burn through our attention resources long before we get into the zone or groove. If the challenge is insufficient, we’ll get bored and then too we lose focus and start looking for something that feels more significant.

Asking ourselves if we are sufficiently challenged is a good way to re-calibrate. If the answer is no, find a way to add challenge to the project. How can you make it even better, take it deeper, or accomplish it in half the time? When challenged, we focus and bring out the best of what we know, and what we can accomplish. Want to bring out the big guns? Pick a bigger fight.

“You’re thinking too much, just let it flow.” – E. Paluszak

3. Am I Nervous?

In The War of Art, a book about fighting the resistance that is always present in any creative work, author Steven Pressfield talks about the presence of fear in the creative process, reframing it from a negative to a positive: “Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”

In other words, fear is a compass and anyone doing work that matters should be suspicious if there’s no fear and nothing at stake. Years ago I was a comedian, performing routinely for audiences of 1000 to 2500 people. In those 12 years I learned to identify the fear as a reliable indicator of the possibility of Flow. My best shows were not those in which I felt perfectly comfortable but those in which I had the most to lose. The nervousness focused my thoughts and energies and put an edge on my performance that wasn’t there when I was just going through the motions. I thought faster, I improvised better, I put more in and expected to get more out.

When I find myself outside the riptide of Flow I ask myself if I’ve really got skin in the game, if there’s a way I can increase the risk, be more vulnerable, or put a little more on the line. It’s not for the sake of risk, but to draw out the best of me that otherwise need not show up when there’s nothing to lose. If there’s nothing to lose there’s also nothing to gain.

You don’t need to study Flow or know how to pronounce the name of the man who brought such clarity to the idea. But you do need that state of optimal performance if you’re going to do your best work, the work that sets you apart from those who think they can get along just fine without it, distracted, unchallenged, and without the nerves that come from taking on something a little bigger than themselves.

Flow brings focus and draws out the best of our skills and pulls us toward innovation, unexpected results to bigger problems, and the kind of results that make our work stand out from a crowd too willing to settle for half-measures and the good enough.

Have you ever been in flow? If so, share how it felt with us below!

David duChemin is a best-selling author, award-winning photographer, and leading expert in the field of creativity. His podcast and book, A Beautiful Anarchy helps him share his message with tens of thousands. Fuelled by his endless creative hunger, he has built a seven-figure business with the goal of inspiring others to realize that the creative life is for everyone—not just artists. David spent the last twelve years travelling the world as a humanitarian photographer and creativity workshop instructor on all seven continents. His adventures have taken him through winters in Russia and Mongolia and a summer on the Amazon, as well as months among nomads in the Indian Himalayan and remote Northern Kenya. Drawing on a successful, twelve-year career in comedy, David brings a dynamic and engaging presence as a presenter in workshops, on camera, or on stages for corporations like Apple and Amazon.

Success Advice

How Your Friends Determine Whether You Succeed or Not

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Can anyone do without having friends? We all have our friends, we share ideas with them, talk together, have fun, and fight. Yes, that’s the baseline of friendship. But, do you know that aside from you, your friends can determine whether you achieve success or not?

There are two things in friendship which are the ability to ”love” and the ability to “influence”. This means you are loved and you are influenced. How do your friends affect your success in life? How are they one of the biggest deciding factors of your success? Let’s find out.

What type of friends do you keep? 

First, what type of friends do you keep? Who do you call your best friend? There are two different kinds of friends, good friends, and bad ones. A lot of people have lost their pathway to success and some have also found their road to success all because of the friends they keep, the people they mingle with. 

Who is your best friend? Answer carefully. Having a best friend means you find each other compatible and understanding. Analyze who your best friend is. If your best friend has not motivated you to do something positive, if who you call your bestie has never given you positive advice, lastly if your best friend has never informed and advised you on your shortcomings, then you don’t have a best friend.

This quote tells us “birds of the same feather flock together”. Countless people have changed from their good nature into a bad one all because of friends. One thing to note is, “negative people move with negative aura”. If your best friend is filled with negativity inside-out then you will surely be affected by his/her negative aura.

They influence your success with positivity or negativity 

The friends you keep can either influence you with positivity or negativity because your friends have the power to change your kind of person completely. 

This is how your friends influence you:

  1. They influence you indirectly with what they do
  2. They influence you directly by teaching and giving you advice 

Yes, that is how they influence you. For instance, you watch a movie and you like the way the actor walks. The question is if you truly like the way the actor walks, won’t you try to imitate the actor? Of course, you will.

Just the way you imitate the actor is the same way your friends can influence you with their character. However, the funny part is, they don’t have to teach you to do things like them. You just find yourself imitating and copying them gradually.

An important question to ask is, are you imitating a good friend or a bad one? If you imitate a good friend then you will be good, but if you imitate a bad person, you will surely become a bad person.

Everyone wants to succeed, a good friend will always teach, enlighten, and motivate you for success. A bad friend will only motivate you to do evil things (smoking, drinking, fight, envy,).

And you should know that things like that are a great enemy of success and even of God. So, if you have these bad elements in your life, how will you achieve success? There is no way!

And also, they can teach and advise you directly. But, what do your friends teach you? When you ask them for advice do they inspire you positively or teach you the bad stuff.? A lot of people have regretted lifelong decisions just by listening to the advice of friends. 

The company you keep has the power to influence and change you. Never forget that a positive influence will teach, motivate, and brush you up for success. While a negative influence will inspire you to become a bad person, change your good nature, and leave you with regrets in the end.

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The 3 Step Process to Building a Profitable Pitch

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As a communication coach, one of the top questions entrepreneurs ask me is how to deliver a winning pitch to potential investors. They want to know if there’s a magic formula to get an investor to say yes and buy into their dream and their business. (more…)

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The 4 Pillars of Wealth and Abundance

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Have you ever wondered what the formula for a wealthy and abundant life is? Many people have. Lots has been written about the subject of wealth creation and living an abundant life. It was a breaking point in my journey and pursuit of success when I found out that there is a clear path to achieve success in life. Thanks to those who have shared their journey, we can clearly see and follow the principles of prosperity. (more…)

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Here Are 4 Reasons Why You Should Have a Podcast, Youtube Channel or Online Show

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Confidence comes from a place of strong understanding of self. After close to three years on radio, I’ve grown from a shy introvert to a shy introvert with an extrovert persona. When the mic is turned on, I can channel a version of myself that some say is attractive, strong, and of course, confident but it wasn’t always this way.

What I want to share with you is what I discovered on this journey into broadcast that you can apply to your life, your ventures, and your personal development. This doesn’t require any fancy gear. It does require a leap of faith on your part because once you go down the road of media; it can change your life.

1. Perceived Expertise

When you go to a doctor, you expect their knowledge will guide them to a solution to your problems. When you have a show, you become your listeners’ doctor. For all the multiple thousands, maybe millions, of YouTube channels, podcasts, and user-created content in the world, each person that gets behind a mic takes a position on their passion, their opinions, and their themes.

They challenge the status quo for the benefit of their listeners in hopes to entertain and educate. With consistency on your side, those fans place you on a platform and give you permission to influence them.

2. Global Acknowledgement

One of the benefits to increasing confidence is when you receive thank you notes from people you may never meet. The feeling of enriching someone’s life from halfway around the globe, provides validation you’re enhancing someone else’s life with your wisdom and your wit.

The very first time I was told I was making a difference in someone’s life in a country other than my own, I felt like I caused massive impact that transcends my circle of influence. When you experience just how much you can cause impact and it comes back to you, it’ll change your worldview.

“Be grateful for what you have and stop complaining – it bores everybody else, does you no good, and doesn’t solve any problems.” – Zig Ziglar

3. Backed By Numbers

One of the most exciting ways to measure success is to quantify your growth. It’s not enough to just broadcast. Having subscribers and downloads helps to know, numerically, how well you’re doing. Word of caution. This can be a way to set yourself up for distress because of number envy but if you understand what the numbers mean; you can control the narrative of the numbers.

The major number that makes most people smile is 10,000. I’d advise it to be 1. Here’s why. As you grow in your industry, so does your reach. If you learned that the one person that subscribed totally changed for the better because of you, wouldn’t that be worth the effort?

4. Effective Communication

While it’s not talked about much, having a show is documentation. You create a dynamic account of your life, your industry, and the pulse on what’s important simply by having a show. When you find a channel to improve your communication skills, you demand attention and people will listen to you. You become more trusted as a leader and people will follow you once they believe you can lead them to their wants and needs.

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins

These insights have helped many people become leaders and, ultimately, move others to their best selves. It’s worked for me and I hope it works for you. At the end of the day, it’s all about showing up and showing out.

Have you ever thought about having a radio show? If so, what would you talk about? Let us below!

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