Every few weeks I hit a point when I’m in a total funk. I think the world is ending, everything pisses me off, and my creative output is basically coming out the wrong end. And it almost always correlates with how many days it’s been since I’ve surfed. The minute I get in the water, it all goes away and I manage to get back to being prolific.
A few weeks ago Tim Ferriss asked Tony Robbins if he ever has bad days, and if so how does he change them. The answer was surprisingly simple: physical movement.
In other words, when you’re stuck mentally, move physically.
Anytime I write after a surf session, the words just flow (no pun intended). I’m not only able to write faster, but I’m able to write more, and it feels completely effortless. As Steven Kotler wrote about in his book The Rise of Superman, action sports athletes experience flow on a regular basis because these sports meet nearly all the conditions that are a precursor to flow.
But you don’t have to be an action sports athlete to take advantage of this. In fact, you can get away with something as basic as going for a walk.
- Mark Zuckerberg is known to hold important meetings on long walks. Steve Jobs was as well.
- In his post about why successful people spend several hours a week just thinking, Brian Scudamore mentioned long walks in nature as part of his disconnect ritual.
To reap the benefits of physical movement, it’s important that you shut down the inflow:
- Don’t check your email
- Don’t browse the web from your phone
- Don’t tweet, Facebook, or whatever your social media vice is
Audiobooks are fair game I suppose. But music might actually be better. The goal really is to shut the logical mind off. And if you manage to do that you’ll better off.
When you’re stuck mentally, move physically, and you’ll find that you get unstuck.
Before You Go…
If doing the best work of your life is important to you, you’ll love my free guide: “Optimizing Productivity & Creativity.”
The tactics I’ve packed into this guide allowed me to write over 1 million words in the last 2 years. What could it do for your life’s work? Don’t miss it.
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