How often do we hear people telling us about finding what puts us in a flow state? I read about it often. Lots of good articles about flow exist. According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (the father of flow) the following eight attributes characterize flow (https://positivepsychology.com/mihaly-csikszentmihalyi-father-of-flow/).
- Complete concentration on the task;
- Clarity of goals and reward in mind and immediate feedback;
- Transformation of time (speeding up/slowing down);
- The experience is intrinsically rewarding;
- Effortlessness and ease;
- There is a balance between challenge and skills;
- Actions and awareness are merged, losing self-conscious rumination;
- There is a feeling of control over the task.
I’ve been thinking about flow for a few years now, and I never knew what got me into a flow state. I never felt like I was in a flow state. Then it happened to me twice.
The first time I was reading a book, and I realized I’ve spent a lifetime in flow state while reading. All books don’t take me into flow, but the most engaging ones do. I completely concentrate on the book while other concerns fall away. I have goals, rewards, and immediate feedback in mind as I read, even though I wasn’t cognizant of that. I read to learn, to find myself in the world, to be entertained, to experience beautiful writing. Those are both my goal and my reward, and I can tell whether or not I am getting that immediately. Time definitely transforms. I could read for an entire day and not realize it. I find the act of reading itself pleasurable, and I venture to it for my own purposes. It is intrinsically rewarding. I read with ease, but the best reading material challenges me with vocabulary, structure, context and content. I simultaneously lose myself to reading, yet I recognize I’m controlling my reading endeavors. Yes, all eight hold true for me.
The other time I was in a flow state, I was creating an event calendar for LELA House. I was sitting in bed reading my bible and had an idea. I almost never interrupt my bible reading for anything, but I knew I needed to write down what was on my mind, so I dashed to my office, grabbed my laptop, got back under the covers and began planning. I figured if I got the inspiration while reading God’s word, then He must have work for me to do. Five hours later, I realized I desperately needed to go to the bathroom. I hadn’t bathed. I had overlooked breakfast (and I never skip meals). I normally would have gone to the bathroom at least twice in that time span. It was actually lunch time, but I didn’t even feel like eating. My entire morning routine was destroyed, and I was oddly excited about it. I went to the bathroom, crawled back into bed with my computer, and settled back in for another two hours, when the need to relieve myself and eat forced me up. Seven hours seems excessive to me to work on an event calendar, but I certainly experienced flow while creating it. I had a problem to solve that engaged and challenged me. I got to research. I got to think, plan, write, and color code. More importantly, I got to orchestrate ways to serve people by helping them explore life, learning, literacy, and creativity.
And I’m realizing where I find flow coincides with what God created me to do in the world.
God created me to support and equip people as they discover the work God created them to do. I do this through helping people explore themselves, their passions, and their creativity through coaching, reading and writing practices, and community connection.
As a virtual education enrichment community where seekers, dreamers, and visionaries explore life, learning, literacy, and creativity through coaching, courses, and community, that’s what LELA House is all about. If you are seeking your next step in life, LELA house can help support and equip you to discover your purpose, practice your passion, and grow to your next level.
Currently LELA House is undergoing construction, but please join my mailing list to stay connected to all that is on the LELA House horizon. More importantly, joining my mailing list will help you discover and live out God’s purpose in your life. You can join my mailing list today by clicking HERE.