Flow is a state of being.
For psychologists like Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – Flow States founding father — it is the point of “optimal experience”. To the American Psychological Association, it’s reached when one’s skills are “fully utilized yet equal to the demands of the task.”
For skiers and snowboarders, it’s the apex of a turn, a perfect pole plant or a pow shot to the face but done dozens of times over, until the day itself has disappeared.
To these people (read: us), the so-called ‘Flow State’ becomes less a state of being and more a reason for being.
There’s a word for this too. It’s French and it’s one we throw around fairly liberally here at Lé Bent. It’s called ‘raison d'être’ – a reason or justification for existence.
At first, our raison d'être’ was all about crafting the best snow socks we could.
But now, it’s about crafting the best technical apparel we can, to help psychologists, skiers, snowboarders, runners and bike riders find their own flow.
It’s counterintuitive but an item of clothing can help one do just that. But, only when they forget they’re wearing it in the first place. After all, to find flow, you must be deeply absorbed by something, far beyond the point of distraction.
Such was the idea behind our new Merino Mid Layer range and its ‘Flow State Sleeve System.’ Beneath the alliteration and allusions to flow, lies a technical construction designed to work in harmony with your body and mind.
Body-mapped sleeves and strategic panels of our Signature Merino Blend around the shoulder blades enable a seamless range of motion and proper articulation with the movement of your arms and shoulders, no matter if you’re leaning into berms or finding flow amongst the bumps.
Designed with activity in mind, these layers will level up an experience, where others might obstruct it.
According to Csikszentmihalyi, “the best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… the best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”
“There’s this focus that, once it becomes intense, leads to a sense of ecstasy, a sense of clarity: you know exactly what you want to do from one moment to the other; you get immediate feedback,” Csikszentmihalyi said in a 2004 TED Talk.
Csikszentmihalyi and research partner Jeanne Nakamura arrived at this conclusion by canvassing all kinds of people who knew their raison d'être, from mountain climbers to chess players, surgeons to ballet dancers.
The best part is you don’t need to be a pro to find your flow.
Since the flow state is reached when one’s skills are “fully utilized yet equal to the demands of the task,” a beginner can lose themselves in the flow of a green run at Front Valley just as Cody Townsend will find his flow state halfway through a line from The Fifty.
Since one of the six criteria for flow is, “a loss of reflective self-consciousness,” there’s also no room for embarrassment on the road to the flow state.
So, how do you find your own flow state?
Well, you can’t manufacture it (unless it’s our mid layer). You have to earn it.
Be present. Be in the moment. Make those turns, pole plants and pow shots count and shortly after, everything else will melt away, you’ll look up, and wonder where the day went.