I sit on the periphery of an organization called the Flow Genome Project. When the first meetings to get it kicked off were held in Los Angeles some years back, I was invited to be a part of them. Sitting alongside geneticists and neuroscientists doing cutting edge work was pretty heady. What was even trippier was attending a salon later with people like Jason Silva and Rodney Mullen. Trippier still was the fact that my opinions and experiences mattered to those present.
The Flow Genome Project exists for the sole purpose of better understanding flow states. There’s nothing more satisfying that happens in our lives than flow. No matter whether it’s playing with your kids, riding your bike, doing work about which you are passionate—those best experiences all have the same underpinning. When in flow your brain unleashes a cocktail of dopamine, endorphins, norepinehprine, anandamide and serotonin. As a neuroscientist once told me, “It’s the perfect antidepressant.”
The ultimate goal of the Flow Genome Project is to map the totality of flow so that we can better hack into it. Whether you’re bouncing through a rock garden, finding a gap to slide through in an undulating peloton, cooking or identifying threats on the battlefield, you’re at your best when in flow. And we know that the more people reach flow the more they reach flow.
However, academia hasn’t been terribly interested in studying the phenomenon, so the FGP is funding its own studies. It’s all private sector. Part of their work is a series of studies based on respondents’ answers to questionnaires. I’ve signed on to help get them more respondents to these surveys.
The first in this series is one on flow and creativity. The two go together like beer and pizza. For those of you who have creative pursuits in your life (and cycling can be plenty creative), I encourage you to take the survey and help science. There’s nothing in this for me other than knowing I’ve helped them expand their sample size.
If you’re interested, go here.