Sunday, October 4, 2020

Tennis Book Review: The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance, by Steven Kotler

The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance, by Steven Kotler (New York, NY: New Harvest, 2014)(236 Pages)

Tennis players call it "being in the zone." Marathoners call it "runner's high." Action and adventure athletes call it "the flow". Psychologists call it "optimal performance." 

It's a mental state of effortless decision-making and intense creativity. And it results in supreme performance. 

It's a zone where action and awareness converge and become heightened. And time itself dilates and distorts - meaning it sometimes seems to move faster, and sometimes slower to help achieve the task at hand. Your sense of "individual self" disappears. And your awareness, almost mystically, merges with the universe. 

And it's experienced by not only athletes but musicians, architects, engineers, artists, authors and others. It applies not only to sports but to art, poetry, music, writing and other fields. Indeed, anyone engaged in a great human challenge requiring supreme creativity and energy can know it. 

How does it work?  And how do you achieve it? 

This book explores the science of this state known as "the flow." 

Steven Kotler is a sports journalist who examines "the flow" through investigating how extreme athletes perform under pressure in high-risk sports such as mega-wave surfing, big-ramp skateboarding, and free (no rope) mountain-climbing. And he analyzes more than 10 years of scientific research and study into the topic. 

His conclusion: "the flow" can be "decoded." And its blueprint can be followed by all of us to reach higher performance levels in any human activity. In short, we can all rise up a little closer to "Superman." 

A few suggested flow conditions and triggers

Kotler proposes that this special state requires certain FLOW CONDITIONS
*The sense of "individual self" vanishes
*Time dilates and distorts
*A state of fearlessness to the body and in the mind
*All "non-essentials" to the task at hand fall away

And that to help us get there we focus on practical points called FLOW TRIGGERS.
*Letting go of your surroundings
*Staying in the Present
*Ultra focus on the task or object at hand
*Visualizing optimal performance 

You Tube Video (12:42):
"What the Science of Flow Can Teach Us About Limitless Performance" (Steven Kotler)