Just the other day, I began working on a new blog concerning how we become addicted to food, alcohol and other things in our lives. I wanted to delve into the history of how addiction drives us into habits that take us absolutely nowhere. But for some reason, after three hours of research, I’d barely written a word. Nothing was coming together.
I’m not accustomed to being a quitter or leaving a project unfinished. Yet I figured something more intriguing would come my way. I’d been reading an amazing book, “Designing Your Life” written by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans from Stanford. You might describe it both as a philosophical and practical approach to one’s Work and Life as seen from a 1,000-foot view above.
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
And then, serendipitously, I began reading the book, and suddenly stumbled across the philosophy of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, one of the pioneers in The Study of Happiness and Spontaneity. Mihaly once said:
“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.”
Coincidentally, his philosophy leads to comparisons with Taoism, founded by the famous Chinese scholar, Chuang Tze, who was born in 286 BC. Taoism teaches the art and science of being “in the Flow” of the moment, without ego and attachment to the outcome of one’s actions. For example, if a person riding a horse were becoming in harmony with its movements, they would suddenly experience feeling “at one with the horse,” with the rider being completely in sync with the horse’s rhythm and in tune with the horse’s mind.
Over time, he created the concept of “The Psychology of Flow,” testing students and teaching them how to experience success by finding experiences which bring them into Moments of Flow. This might lead to finding a career, or activity that brings you this experience, though perhaps not every day, at least a few times every week.
It’s in our genetic makeup to inherently have the desire to be successful, both professionally and personally. Each time we get in The Flow our confidence is reawakened. You might find it in public speaking, using watercolor, playing soccer, designing a new solution to replace plastic, or snowboarding.
if you find yourself stuck on a project or task, consider taking a break and doing something that brings you back into the rhythm of inspiration and being simply in the moment… helping you get unstuck. Let that creativity FLOW!