I got the hustle, now here’s the flow

I’ve been thinking a bit lately about what I would call “flow.” What do I mean by flow? I’m glad you asked. I think you should know.

Back when I lived in LA, there was a guitar player I used to see playing with a lot of people. He was pretty good, but had this weird tic; in his lead guitar playing, he was often slightly behind the beat. And not in a groovy John Bonham kind of way but in a distracting, “what’s going on here?” sort of way. The sense I got was that this guy couldn’t really commit to his musical ideas. It was like right before he started playing a lick there were some part of his mind thinking “Wait! Is this really what I should do?”

The reason I was able to recognize this tic was that I had a myself for a while. If you listen back to some of my early guitar work, while it possesses tremendous musicality and skill, it kind of has that behind the beat stutter.

Now, as you have probably figured out, this is an example of the opposite of flow. Flow is being able to mentally commit yourself to a path and then execute it on an almost subconscious level. I think this is what the great sportsmen have, or performance artists, or comedians or whatever. They enter into the moment and don’t allow themselves to be distracted.

Also, I think flow can be applied over the long term, and short-term. For example, you can have flow on a macro level of your life, like, where you say, “I’m going to earn a master’s degree in chemistry and marry a blonde woman with 36 double D-breasts.” and then you execute that plan. And I think you can have flow on a micro level, where you set up a difficult pool shot, commit to it, and make it. (Frankly, whether you make it is really irrelevant — it’s a matter of whether you did not allow for conscious distraction.)

I feel, over the past several years, that I have really increased my flow, especially in music. Lately, I’ve been all about trimming out the unnecessary distractions and just focusing on what I think is important. And, while it’s always bit of a battle, I’ve made progress.

You know who really has flow? Ninjas. They think, “I’m going to approach this guy and use the monkey claw deathblow to cram his nasal bones into his brain.” Then they just execute, pure and simple. We can learn a lot from ninjas.

8 Responses to “I got the hustle, now here’s the flow”

  1. John Saleeby

    I like Flo in the Insurance commercials. Her and the Geico Gecko. And that Mayhem dude. Hey, looks like Insurance commercials are the Happening thing!

  2. Wil

    Eh, I dunno, the Mayhem dude bugs me. You know he used to be on “Law and Order SVU” and “Oz”?

    Flo has got serious flow.

  3. John Saleeby

    “Oz”? That show freaks me out.

  4. Wil

    Yeah, I watched it a few times. Turned out to having nothing to do with Dorothy and the tin man.

  5. John Saleeby

    That’s Tin Man, punk!

  6. John Saleeby

    Hey! I was just driving around when “Mama, I’m Comin’ Home” came on the Radio and I found out that I CAN SING JUST LIKE OZZY!!! Let’s start a Black Sabbath Tribute Band! I can be Ozzy and you can be Tony and my lap top can be the other two assholes! We;; find some bitch who looks just like Sharon Osbourne and I’ll bite her head off! You know, like Ozzy bit a pigeon’s head off? We’ll find some fat kid who looks like Ozzy’s Son and I’ll beat the shit out of him with Sharon’s headless corpse will fuck up all the Iommi guitar stuff! It’ll be great! At the end of the show we’ll play one of Ozzy’s solo songs with Randy Rhodes and during your solo you climb inside a little fake airplane that falls off of the stage and I dump gasoline all over it and burn you all up. Cause that’s what you deserve. Randy didn’t, but you do!

  7. Wil

    eh, been done.

  8. John Saleeby

    How about a Shower Curtain Rod pushed into your right ear, through your head, and out your left ear so we can hang your dead ass up in someone’s bathroom to keep the water from getting all over the fucking place, has that been done before, Funny Man?