Somehow near mile 2 of a trail run today, political philosophy entered the picture, and I spent the rest of my run (including the most difficult uphill portion) exchanging ideas on the state, liberty, and culture with my trail-running partner.
Before I knew it, I was in the zone – or rather, I was “in the zone” in two of the activities that 1) I enjoy most and 2) are best-suited to get me into a state of flow: running and philosophy.
It’s a powerful thing to combine two “flow-state” activities like this. I definitely ran further and harder than usual (including the most difficult uphill of the trail) with at least twice the endurance and resilience I normally have on a run.
I chalk some of this energy up to the natural benefits of an accountability running partner, and some to the adrenaline of philosophical debate. But it was especially fun to be doing both philosophy and trail running at the same time. My mind was so focused on the ideas – and my body so focused on the run – that neither had a chance to tell each other to stop running.
If you get the chance, try combining two activities that get you into optimal zones of creativity: dancing and music, perhaps? Coding and walking? Story-writing and sailing? There are all sorts of combinations you could try.