Just go with the flow

hello handsomes and prettys, here we all are again.

Last Wednesday we interviewed Colm McMullan. His answers were so thoughtful and inspiring. When we asked him about how he ensures he is in the right frame of mind to create, he mentioned the concept of Flow. We were interested … It wasn’t something we really knew anything about.

Apparently … “Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. Proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, the positive psychology concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields.

 According to Csíkszentmihályi, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. In flow, the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand. To be caught in the ennui of depression or the agitation of anxiety is to be barred from flow. The hallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task although flow is also described as a deep focus on nothing but the activity – not even oneself or one’s emotions.

It all sounds quite serious. But how do we actually get ourselves to the point of experiencing this pure focus? There are 10 suggested directions.

1. You need clear goals. And ones which are set at a high level – in other words, a challenge.

2. Concentrating (something which we often struggle with!!) … And in particular – “a high degree of concentration on a limited field of attention”

3. Losing that horrible limiting feeling of self-consciousness – and therefore inviting “the merging of action and awareness”

4. Distorted sense of time, one’s subjective experience of time is altered – i.e. not always checking your mobile for the time, you know, like us – every 2 minutes.

5. Direct and immediate feedback (basically being honest with yourself about what’s working and what’s not – “so that behavior can be adjusted as needed”).

6. Balance between ability level and challenge (the activity isn’t too easy nor too difficult).

7. A sense of personal control over the situation or activity. Taking charge!

8. The activity is intrinsically rewarding, so there is an effortlessness of action.

9. A lack of awareness of bodily needs (to the extent that one can reach a point of great hunger or fatigue without realizing it) … Maybe just a wee cup of tea?.. No?

10. Absorption into the activity, narrowing of the focus of awareness down to the activity itself, action awareness merging.

 It really is a very interesting concept. And there is a whole lot more out there on the subject, this post merely brushes the surface. It’s definitely one that we’d love to experience even though it does seem to take A LOT of discipline and determination. But, perhaps these are the challenges we should be setting ourselves? Do you think you investigate this type of thing enough? Or do you just find one way of working and stick to it regardless?

Lets chat.

handsome and pretty

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