5 questions with Adam Leonard

What is “flow” in simple terms for people who haven’t been in touch with the concept as such? Can you shed some light though on the neurochemistry of flow? What happens in our brains when we are in a state of flow?

University of Chicago psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi noticed that “the best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” He coined this state “flow.” During these flow states, the brain produces performance enhancing neurochemicals such as norepinephrine, dopamine, anandamide, serotonin, and endorphins. This unique chemical cocktail generates amazing benefits.


In most flow related books, the majority of examples come from sports. Is it something that is attainable in today’s business environment where the pressure to deliver is becoming more intense and where deadlines keep getting shorter?

Yes, experiencing flow at work is possible. But it will likely require changes in areas such as physical environment, work selection, scheduling, mindset, and focus habits. Author Cal Newport describes a method called “deep work” that creates positive conditions for flow. I’ll explain how to optimize your work for flow during the program.


What are some of the key benefits of flow in both professional and personal life?

Flow researchers have found increases in focus, creativity, performance, decision making, and new skill acquisition. Learning accelerates while time seems to slow down. A McKinsey study revealed a 5x productivity increase from executives in flow. Plus, the annoying critical voice in your head takes a rest during flow. And the inner silence feels blissful!


Can you talk a bit about some of the main challenges people have when trying to get into the state of flow? What are some of the strategies you would recommend to overcome these obstacles?

Flow is both the most desirable state to experience and the most elusive. In most cases, you cannot force it to happen, but you can create more favorable conditions. For example, seek new challenges just a bit beyond your ability level. Then completely immerse yourself in the challenge while avoiding distractions and multitasking. I’ll cover several other practical techniques during the program.


What are some of the key insights you hope that participants in the event will gain from the modules you will be facilitating?

  • Deepening understanding of flow and its relationship with leadership and organizational success
  • Knowing what happens to the brain during flow and how to bio hack flow
  • Identifying areas of flow in your life
  • Leveraging the “flow triggers” to increase flow frequency
  • Customized new ways to optimize flow states at work and the rest of your life


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