The Flow State & Other Stories
As you have come to know, the articles I share with you in #Repost are stories that have piqued my interest. When there is something happening in the news, my urge is to dig deeper and find more context, one that goes beyond the headlines.
This week, I was intrigued by Collin Morikawa, the young golfer who recently won the British Open and is currently ranked No.1 on the PGA Tour. While he played a beautiful game at The Royal St. George's in Sandwich, Kent (as the commentators on the radio expressed), I was interested in what was described as his mature mental state. One sub headline even called his game as 'Cool, Collin, Collected'. What I found was a great story about his upbringing, one that has enabled him to make choices that are healthy for him; and his coach who teaches him about being in what he characterises as 'the flow state'. A place of calm, focus, and at one with the best version of who he is. Jackpot, I thought.
The backstory to our lives has a huge impact on who we are today. And there are many ways to interpret our early experiences to either benefit us or break us. Sometimes, trying to find those answers seems impossible. Sometimes, we search our entire lives for that one piece that is seemingly missing from our lives that would help us feel connected, or even whole. That's what the new documentary on the late Anthony Bourdain is about. Directed by Morgan Neville, the film explores Bourdain--the father, the writer, the partner, the chef, the nomad. What we come to realise is that, like so many of us, no matter how far we go, we take our baggage with us. And sometimes, as in Boudain's case, no matter how hard we search, we never quite find the answers we need. His travels to "parts unknown" were a way to find connection. But while his success brought him attention and freedom it somehow took him further away from himself.
The truth is, we are always searching for something. Life's ebbs and flows make sure of that. That's probably why last summer's sleeper hit Ted Lasso got so many people talking. It was one of those unexpected shows that grabbed your heart and made you laugh at the same time. For the creator and star, Jason Sudeikis, it was an opportunity to share a part of himself on screen. What would unfold later would be a case of his life imitating his art. And the life education that comes with it.
It is through his art that Tahir Hamut Izgil is able to freely share his story. The Uyghur poet on the verge of arrest and detention, describes in harrowing detail, the days leading up to his family's escape from China. His is a story of survival, state-sponsored oppression, of ignorance, of living without fear of persecution simply because of who he is and to whom he prays. It's a story that stays with you after reading, one that helps you understand how cruel some people can be but also how, in the face of that cruelty, the bravery of others shines through.
It is that space between the duality of human nature where the seeds of creativity lie, waiting to be sown and nurtured. It is a space that the sporting giant Nike has stepped into to harness the power of social capital in its campaigns. It is a conscious decision to be in that space, one that other brands often shy away from out of fear of reprisals, recriminations, or retributions. The founder of Nike, Phil Knight, told students at the Graduate School at Stanford Business, "It doesn’t matter how many people hate your brand as long as enough people love it. And as long as you have that attitude, you can’t be afraid of offending people. You can’t try and go down the middle of the road. You have to take a stand on something..." I would add, as long as that stand is for humanity, civility, unity, equality, and true authenticity.
It's a good philosophy for life too, wouldn't you say? Perhaps then, we aren't fighting ourselves to try and fit into some box that actually wasn't made for us. Perhaps then is when we find ourselves in the flow state.