FLOW - OPTIMAL EXPERIENCE
At SOARTD, our mission is to inspire and share the experience of Flow through exercise, outdoor adventure and travel. Our clothing, teamwork and community engagement is designed to support this mission.
We believe that well designed, high performance clothing can assist in finding flow and, while it might sound idealistic, we strongly believe that spending more time in flow can create a fuller and more compassionate life, and in turn contribute to making the world a better place.
SOARTD AND THE FEELING OF FLOW
Flow is a term used to describe the complete (body-mind-soul) feeling of being so totally engaged in an activity that there is a sense of complete immersion in the experience. Self-conscious thoughts give way to feeling at one with the activity and the environment, and time is no longer an ever present consideration.
It was the flow experiences like soaring with sea eagles along the cliffs and dunes of ocean beaches in a paraglider, and bodysurfing with dolphins on island reefs, that inspired our brand name SOARTD. The pure, focused concentration, the feeling of complete immersion with the environment, and the deep intrinsic pleasure in the activity itself are all hallmarks of the flow experience.
For those fortunate enough to experience it, being in flow can be optimal experience, and amongst the most fulfilling and positive experiences of our lives.
People find differing levels and perhaps types of flow in various activities from extreme sport, to the arts, to everyday activities like gardening, assisting others, even just walking or intensely using a smart phone.
At SOARTD, we focus on flow attained through exercise, outdoor adventure and travel, partly because these activities perhaps represent the paths of least resistance to experiencing flow for the uninitiated, and in our experience, to a higher intensity experience of flow.
In addition, flow activities involving exercise will aid mental clarity and health and help combat the growing prevalence of inactivity and obesity. Those activities involving outdoor adventure are likely to improve wellbeing and engender a sense of appreciation, responsibility and stewardship for the environment. While those activities involving travel, expand one’s mind and may be more likely to enhance mutual support and co-operation, appreciation and tolerance of our environmental, cultural and personal differences, so vital to peace.
FINDING YOUR FLOW
We’re far from expert, and we’re not psychologists, instead we’re sharing some of what we’ve learned, personally experienced, and come to believe about flow, in an effort to encourage others to find flow for themselves, and learn how to excel in it more often, and in turn share their experiences.
Some key considerations to finding flow include: -
- Engaging in challenging but achievable activities which stretch the capabilities or skills of the individual or team. Increasing levels of challenge and skill development can deliver more flow intensity over time.
- Finding clear and committed focus, purely to the activity, and being free from outside thoughts and distractions unrelated to the challenge, is more conducive to entering flow.
- Being motivated by the intrinsic pleasure from engaging in the activity itself, rather than being motivated by extrinsic rewards or factors, is more likely to engender flow.
Keeping these considerations in mind next time you venture out, might assist you in finding and enjoying positive flow experiences.
The relationship between activities offering differing levels of skills and challenges and the resultant psychological condition of the individual, including flow, are depicted in the chart below - which has become a foundation tool in examination and communication of flow psychology. The divergence from the central axis represents increasing levels of intensity of the different states with movement outward from the centre.
As the chart depicts, flow can be attained when a high level of challenge is matched with a high level of skills. Whereas if one’s skills exceed those required of the challenge then states from Control, through Relaxation and Boredom can be experienced. In activities where the challenge is beyond the skills of the individual or team the resultant psychological state is more likely to be Arousal, Anxiety or Worry. The entirely apathetic state exists where the individual doesn’t exercise their skills nor takes on any challenges, probably leading to further erosion of any skills that do exist.
Research has also shown that certain personality traits are conducive to entering the flow state and remaining there. Individuals with an inherent general curiosity and interest in life, an openness to new and high-challenge activities, coupled with the meta-skills of persistence, and low self-centeredness, are most likely to experience flow.
The psychology of flow can be a deep topic, and for those who are interested some further explanation of flow, theory, practice and coaching of flow can be found below.
Australian author Tim Winton eloquently relates his experience of flow both while surfing and writing.
- The Flow Centre, is an Australian based, specialist flow coaching service run by Cameron Norsworthy and Susan Jackson with a useful library of references to further information on flow.
SOARTD CLOTHING & FLOW
To find flow, one often needs a razor-sharp focus on the activity itself, and the ability to perform with a high level of skill or competency.
At SOARTD our minimalist collection of multifunctional high-performance clothing is designed to assist active adventurers in finding flow by minimizing distracting decision making concerning the colour or fit compatibility between the garments.
Our collection coordinates seamlessly in muted colors and styles that layer and work synergistically and with great flexibility, thereby reducing the decisions associated with what to wear, while ensuring confidence and comfort despite the activity, environment or situation.
Our active and transparent commitment to both socially, ethically and environmentally responsible business practices means that the positive experiences through which your SOARTD clothes support you, are not enjoyed by you at the expense of others, the planet or future generations.
Articulated designs and performance fabrics ensure unrestricted freedom to move, and a lightness and comfort, which means your clothing disappears from your consciousness as you seek and experience flow, and humbly radiate in its afterglow.