Chris Boardman Music Blog: Similarities between art and extreme sports

Monday, March 24, 2014

Similarities between art and extreme sports

Believe it or not their are more similarities between extreme sports and creating than you might imagine. Athletes routinely create a state of "Flow" to enhance their performance.

Are you in a state of Flow when you create?

“Flow” is a psychological term defined as being a state of optimal consciousness. Normally applied to extreme sports I wonder if the most powerful and effective art is not achieved through the same state of being? From my personal experience I would have to say yes. Is it possible to apply practices used by athletes to the creation of music? Absolutely. I think it is essential for any creative artist moving forward.

Extreme sports require near perfect decision making because the stakes are high. It requires acceptance of limitations and the exploitation of personal strengths. Lack of awareness can be the difference between life and death. 

Is making art a life or death decision?

Music as a profession has been hit hard by disruptive technology and will continue to be challenged. Maybe it is a life or death decision after all?

If you watch someone who is about to jump off a bridge, free climb 2000ft or surf a 100ft wave there seems to be a calm about them. They are focused and relaxed. They are not distracted because they know if they aren’t ....well you know.

If you look at great performers they have a similar aura about them. Focused, the moment. Any person who performs at a high level has learned how to put themselves in a state of “flow” on command.

Watch how athletes prepare themselves in pressure situations. Most adopt a preshot routine to put themselves in a state of flow. Do you have a pre-shot routine before you begin to write? If you don’t you might consider creating one. The better decisions you make the more efficient you become and...the better art you will create.

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