Editor’s Note: This is Part 3 of a four-part series on the phases of flow states. In it, Contributing Editor JP Schlick speaks with The Rise of Superman author Steven Kotler and professional climber Cedar Wright, discussing both the theory behind these states, as well as the applicable and thereby relatable takeaways from experiences of both weekend warriors and tightly tuned professionals.
“If you want to understand what is going on in action and adventure sports, you have got to understand that there has been near exponential growth in ultimate human performance,” says Steven Kotler, author of The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance. “In surfing, which is a 1000 year old sport, from 400 AD to 1996, the biggest wave anybody had ever surfed was 25 feet. Anything above that, everybody including surfers and scientists, thought would be impossible. And today we are pushing waves that are 100 feet tall… that’s exponential growth, nothing like that has ever happened before.”