Writers and other creatives need to achieve a certain state of intense mental focus in order to create – but it can be dangerous to be in that state all of the time, author Steven Kotler said on Tuesday’s “The Glenn Beck Radio Program.”
In his book “Stealing Fire” with co-author Jamie Wheal, Kotler wrote about a “flow state” that helps some of the most successful revolutionaries in the world focus, whether they are Silicon Valley executives or trailblazing scientists.
But there’s a dark side to achieving flow, and it’s actually dangerous to be in that state all of the time because part of your brain shuts down to achieve it, Kotler asserted. The flow state takes away the person’s inner critic, allowing them to maximize focus and creativity, but in doing so, it also shuts down critical thinking and reasoning functions in the brain.
“We’re not meant to live in these states,” Kotler said. One everyday example is a trip to the store. “Don’t go shopping in a flow state,” he said. “Everything’s going to look great.”
Creatives need flow to do their work, but as a result, they also have the highest suicide rate, he noted.
Another dark facet is how people use flow to radicalize others, essentially brainwashing them to stay in the same state. In terrorist training camps and cults, they put people into flow, Kotler asserted.
“You’re dealing with an addictive behavior and really potent neurochemistry,” Kotler said of the flow state.
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