The Rise of Superman Summary – March 2022

Author: Steven Kotler

Short Summary
The Rise of Superman (2014) explains the importance of flow and guides us on how to maintain flow in life in order to perform better. Moreover, the book inspires the readers how every impossible can become possible by facing it. 
the rise of superman
Source: amazon.com

Detail Summary

The book is written by Steven Kotler who is a best-selling author and an award-winning journalist. In his book The Rise of Superman, he has guided us on how to master the art of “flow” and he teaches us this through the examples of extreme athletes. This is because he thinks that extreme athletes need to enter their flow state.

According to him, extreme athletes are the perfect case studies because they embody flow.

Moreover, he interviewed many athletes and through his research, he found out that extreme athletes push their limits of human performance. Their feats of impossibility and “superhuman” abilities are used to show how the impossible can become possible.

Actually, the author wants the readers to adopt the flow mindset of the extreme athletes in their lives. Kotler uses neuroscience to illustrate how flow occurs and how chemicals in our brains allow us to push ourselves if we are brave enough to take risks and face our concerns.

The Rise of Superman Key Points

The 4% Rule

The author has motivated the readers that they turn every impossible into possible and to better understand it, he has explained the 4% rule.

Consider a graph in which the y-axis represents difficulty and the x-axis reflects proficiency. Flow is the point where x and y meet in the middle. Flow happens when the difficulty and skillset are evenly balanced. When the challenge exceeds our abilities, we feel anxious, and when the challenges do not equal our abilities, we feel bored. As a result, flow is the perfect balance of boredom and tension.

Now assume that you spend the rest of your life functioning in a situation where your difficulties and skills are evenly matched. You’re not going to get any better. You’ll coast and stay in your familiar surroundings. The 4 percent rule comes into play at this point. The idea behind this is that your challenge should be 4% harder than your present skill level.

How to create a flow state in our body

Flow is a state of great focus and struggle in which we release a large number of neurochemicals like Norepinephrine, dopamine, endorphins, anandamide, and serotonin which provide us heightened levels of focus, pain-blocking powers, and a happy feeling. However, because these neurochemicals are scarce, recovery is critical to the flow cycle. We need to factor in rest and recuperation because being in a perpetual state of flow is unsustainable. So, for that, the author suggests good sleep and place flow at the center of your life, you also have to make sleep a significant part of your life.

Moreover, when we learn something for the first time, we often try to do too much too quickly and we put so much pressure on ourselves. If we adopt the 4% rule, we’ll still feel like we’re struggling, but it’ll be the right kind of frustration. We’ve been led to believe that frustration is a negative emotion, and we need to reframe it. Frustration is a sign that we’re outside of our comfort zone, and we’re pushing ourselves. Frustration reminds us that we’re doing exactly what we should be doing, at precisely the right intensity. So, keep at it, and you’ll move on to the next step in the flow process.

Transient hypofrontality

The author has deeply explained the term transient hypofrontality in order to understand to the readers that every part of the brain does not need to be active all the time.

Another aspect of the flow experience is a phenomenon known as transitory hypofrontality. This convoluted expression merely signifies that your preFRONTal cortex is less (hypo) active for a brief period of time (transient).

The prefrontal cortex is a portion of the neocortex, which, in evolutionary terms, is the “youngest” region of our brain. This is where we do all of our complicated thinking (like crunching statistics to pick which house to buy), and it’s also where we can think rationally about our feelings and be self-aware.

Why does this component turn off? Because you don’t have time to second-guess your own decisions when you’re inflow. When your self-awareness monitor turns off, you’ll trust your instincts, make split-second judgments, and experiment with new ways exactly as you did before.

Another portion of your brain that slows down during flow is your orientation adjustment area, which allows you to judge your position in the world in relation to other things. This is what makes surfers “feel one with the wave” and writers “think their words onto the paper.”

Who would I recommend The Rise of Superman book to?

The book The Rise of Superman is highly recommended to all people who are adventurous and want to achieve something out of the box. Moreover, anyone who is interested in cognitive science definitely needs to read this thrilling book.

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