The Paradox of control
Learning how to let go of conscious control is the best way to gain greater control and is a big leap into a flow state. We explain in this episode.
Letting Go is one of the Four Stages of Flow
- Struggle - The brain is learning
- Release - This is today's topic. Letting go.
- Flow - Peak Performance.
- Recovery - Recharging your system.
In the struggle stage, we're using our conscious mind for the most part and we're learning and growing. Our brain is mapping new neural pathways and increasing the neural networks. Our brain is also doing a lot of "chunking" of information which is more of a matrix of connections and not just linear.
The struggle stage is required for us to maximize flow when we do let go. Without struggle, letting go is losing control rather than increasing control.
The issue you may have with the struggle stage is when struggle continues for an extended period of time. When this happens we find ourselves in a "cortisol loop." Our bodies become highly-stressed and we're unable to release, let go, and enter a flow state.
The struggle stage in life is required to achieve a flow state. Without struggle, letting go is losing control rather than increasing control.
The Struggle Stage is The Building Stage
Think of it as building a supercomputer. The struggle stage is that building stage, but that computer is worthless if you never fire it up and let it do its thing. The Release Stage is essentially how we start the supercomputer we've built in the struggle stage.
This supercomputer is able to do incredible amounts of computations in comparison to what you can do manually entering data into a calculator. Your conscious mind is like the calculator, working on a linear scale while your subconscious or subcortical mind is your supercomputer. When you release and fire up your supercomputer, you are able to do so much more.
The thing that scares us with a supercomputer is that we aren't in control of the computations, so we don't see the work happening. We've put the data together and equipped it to do the work, but we have to let go of our desire to confirm every calculation and trust it's doing the work we programmed it to do.
Understanding the Brain Wave States
There are five brain wave states from fastest to slowest being Gamma, Beta, Alpha, Theta, and Delta.
- Gamma wave state is a hyper state where we have heightened awareness and may be engaged in intense problem-solving.
- Beta wave state is very rapid like when you're talking or learning something.
- Alpha wave state is when you're very calm and very relaxed. You're not doing a lot of conscious thinking.
- Theta wave state is where we gain tremendous insight and creativity. This is where you are in a deep meditative state and where we find ourselves when we do let go and enter a flow state.
- Delta wave states occur when you're in a deep sleep and have actually lost awareness of your physical state. There are a lot of repairs that go on in this brain wave state.
When we "let go" we move into Theta wave state and allow your brain to function at a much higher level. This is where the supercomputer takes over and we have exponentially great control with very little to no awareness of that control. Hence, the "paradox of control."
Remember, as you think about this process of letting go, you're not necessarily letting go of control. What you're doing is handing over that control to a much more capable and powerful supercomputer.