Have you ever had a feeling of “high” and increased confidence after a job well done? If you are lucky enough to have something you are really good at doing, something you consider to be “your thing”, you can probably recall the proud satisfaction that goes along with its process and not just completion. This amazing feeling, almost like a high, is known as “flow”in psychology and can be achieved with a few ingredients: clear goals, focus, skills, hard work without distractions and taking pleasure in what you’re doing. It’s also usually something that is intrinsically motivated vs extrinsically, meaning you are doing something because you want to rather than if someone is making you do it. It’s what makes artists want to pursue a career with less financial stability. However, you can always find this feeling in anything that you’re doing by adjusting these ingredients, i.e. adding on to the challenge if is too small or learning new skills if it’s too easy.
They say you need to understand the challenge, have enough confidence in your skills to undertake it and work hard to overcome it in order to feel this amazing feeling. When everything is aligned and just right, you feel a “hyper focus” also known as complete satisfaction or pleasure in completing a task. This kind of happiness is also in your own hands.
“Flow” can be experienced in a game, at work, reading a book or even when talking to someone. As a previously proud multitasker, I have to admit that I now feel multitasking is overrated. Doing one thing at a time, with your full focus can be a lot more productive and satisfying. So next time you are faced with a challenge, you know that you can overcome it and it can lead to great things. And when you find what it is that gets you feeling this way, go with the “flow”!
I love the concept of “flow” because it reminds me of my favourite topic of mindfulness. You’re hyper aware of the moment without any judgements. You are just “being” – at your best, highest level.
“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”