Giving into comfort means you miss the opportunity for flow states.
Those experiences where you were embodied and fully present, but playing it safe never gets you there. I spent 100s of hours exclusively studying everything I could about flow states. I’ve built my life around flow states to maximize personal growth and break the mold of who I’ve been before.
The more you know about flow the more likely you’ll be able to orchestrate the triggers to produce flow more often by:
Your comfort zone is like a step on a never-ending staircase.
Each step you take up the staircase, you transcend your previous level of expertise. You want to become the best you can be, yet there’s always a more evolved version of you waiting just beyond who you currently are.
Some see it as a curse - no matter how hard they try, they’ll never reach a final destination of ‘enough’. The process is never complete.
Others see it as beautiful - they can constantly evolve, dedicating their life to becoming all that they can be.
Over and over again the content on flow states continues to point to the 4% rule.
What this means is that if you push past your comfort zone by just 4%, you’ll drop into a flow state. The core truth of flow states is that it’s about striking the right balance between skill level and the challenge at hand:
It’s about finding the sweet spot just barely beyond your current skills - that’s where you want to play.
It’s the ultimate carrot to strive for because what you get in return for stretching beyond your current abilities is one of the best states of consciousness a human can experience.
A friend once told me, “if you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much room.”
He could have just been quoting a movie, but it’s stuck with me for a decade. It’s important to be on the edge. Not ‘on-edge’ as in a stressful state of alertness, but on the edge as in you’re leaning into the unknown ever so slightly.
You have one foot in the realm of comfort and order while the other foot is curiously exploring what’s new and just beyond.
In 1908, psychologists Robert M. Yerkes and John Dillingham Dodson developed a law for peak performance called the Yerkes and Dodson Law.
The law dictates that mental or physiological arousal boosts performance to only a certain degree.
Performance starts to drop off after arousal levels become too much.
Through all three of the previous points, you can start to see a repeating pattern emerge:
Put another way, the sweet spot to evolving beyond what you currently are lies just outside what you can do now.
Flow’s price for entry is no small fee.
To enter, your perception of yourself must feel as though you’re leveraging every bit of talent you possess. Doing all you can with what you’ve got.
That’s how you get into flow.
Turns out there can be a lot of overlap between building design and building a life. John Ruskin (unknowingly perhaps) tells us how to live life better.
It's never too late to stumble upon an underlying principle of reality. (Especially one that can be put to use immediately)