On episode 6 of The Startup Show, I got to interview Jeremy Dooley. Jeremy is a designer, author, and the co-creator of ChaType (first typeface to be created for a US city…Chattanooga).
A central theme that arose from our conversation was the idea of finding a “flow state” and how chasing the high of working in a flow state changed Jeremy’s trajectory in life. In fact, it was feeling a flow state while working on a graphic design project that directed Jeremy to leave his business major and enroll as a design student.
The rest is history. Jeremy has since created hundreds of typefaces that are featured in TypeKit, built a design company to fill his daytime hours, and written a trilogy of books for fun.
I wouldn’t mind having just one of those marks on my track record.
The idea of a flow state is one that is hard to pin down, and even harder to consistently experience. I used to enter a flow state on extremely long runs when I was training for a 50k trail race. More recently, I’ve found myself getting into a groove-like working pattern when writing (like I am right now), either very early in the morning or late at night when my wife has fallen asleep.
Now, it may just be the the romanticism or mystique behind the term that piques my curiosity so much, but I am so captivated by this idea of hitting a groove that locks you in to crushing whatever task is in front of you.
We see athletes find this mindset regularly. Fourth quarter, tight game…Jordan regularly hit his flow. If Aaron Rodgers has the ball with two minutes or less, you can pretty much predict something incredible is about to happen.
This leads me to believe that a flow state is a predictable and repeatable event that can be summoned when appropriate circumstances arise. The question is, are those circumstances required, or can the flow state be manufactured at the actor’s discretion.
Much has been written on the topic, and it’s not my aim to re-hash what you readily google yourself. Instead, I’m more interested in how you’ve experienced a flow state and what measures you took to get there. Is there a theme? Or do you simply see it as a reaction to circumstances that require you to rise to the occasion.
You can hear Jeremy talk about his need for pressure during our chat here (21:10).