Try making a list. Not a big list. Not a serious, inspiring, motivating, nudge-your-butt…
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi said that individuals were the most creative, productive, and happiest when in a state of flow. Prof. Emeritus Mihaly “Mike” Csikszentmihalyi taught at the University of Chicago and was known as the “father of flow.”
He described flow as “a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”
You know the flow state. It’s like when you’re in “the zone.” When you’re so into whatever you’re doing that everything else disappears.
Here is a MUCH BETTER DESCRIPTION from UCDAVIS:
You are playing such an intense video game and are focused so intently on getting to the next level that you don’t know what is going on around you. You have no sense of time passing. You feel great. You are “in the zone.” You are experiencing flow.
You are running a marathon, and you are so focused on the finish line that you barely experience any pain or tiredness until you are done. You are experiencing flow.
Csikszentmihalyi described eight characteristics of flow
- Complete concentration on the task;
- Clarity of goals and reward in mind and immediate feedback;
- Transformation of time (speeding up /slowing down);
- Intrinsically rewarding experience;
- Effortlessness and ease;
- Balance between challenge and skills;
- Actions and awareness are merged, losing self-conscious rumination;
- Feeling of control over the task.
Okay, so you get it.
And hopefully you have your own way of getting there.
Maybe you’re an athlete. Or an artist or performer. Or a Jeopardy thumb-on-the-buzzer nut.
My two guaranteed paths to flow are cartooning and writing.
Those two activities put me right into a state of flow where my brain can just take a break and settle in for a nice easy ride
And seriously, thank god for cartooning and writing. They have most definitely kept me sane.
They have provided me an escape from my brain. Especially on days when my brain is relentless. And impossible.
And the cartoons have mostly kept me laughing, even if I was laughing alone.
Because even the lame cartoons are funny when you make them.
Anyway, the point is that you need to go there.
To that flow state.
It’s amazing. It’s like magic.
You have to figure out how to get there, if you haven’t been.
And you need to go more often, if you know where it is.
I can look back now and see how desperate my brain was for a break from whatever it was ruminating over or drowning under.
I remember realizing how great the state of flow was years ago and thinking it was so special.
But now I think it’s imperative. Now I purposefully schedule flow into my day.
I make sure my day includes blocks of flow, to give my brain a break from itself.
And I call it “Being in Session.”
Which cracks me up.
I’ll tell Bella I’m going into session.
Like court goes into session,
“Court’s In Session, Bella.”
She looks at me like I’m an idiot.
Which cracks me up.
Anyway, try finding your flow state.
You’ll be amazed at all of the magic that can happen there.
And if you have a playlist that helps you get there, definitely share.
xoxoxo, dee (and bella)