Flow is optimal human functioning. It is where your are fully immersed in what you are doing by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity your are busy with.
According to Csíkszentmihályi (one can say he is the father of this positive psychological concept), 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.
For me, it is to consciously and actively seek to live your life to the fullest. Carrol Ryff makes the statement that happiness is the result of a life well lived. To live your life well is to engage in it. To dive into every element and aspect of life. To taste the sweet of success and the sour of failing with equal commitment.
It is to focus on your life. To live in it.
Paradoxically you need to observe your life at the same time. Later more about this.
To engage in your life is not an random act of abandonment. It is a focused choice to use your strengths.
Most people think they must work on their weak points in order to improve their life. This is a waste of energy. You just end up with strong weak points. And where does that get you?
To live in flow you need to enhance your strengths. Focus on developing that which you are good in. This is also a different path. Most people think because they are good at something they can just let it be. Because things come easy they lazily do not engage with their own “wow-ness”.
The problem is that there are a few principles at play here. One is that if you do not use it, you lose it. Proof of this is seen in the view most people have that the older you get the better you were.
The second important principle is that we all have raw talent (your strengths). And like any raw material the true value only exhibits itself after a process of refinery. Gold for example, in its raw form is nothing but veins in a rock. Lots of potential! But only through refining it do we get the valuable gold jewelry.
So – rather ask yourself what can I do to enhance my strengths? How can my strengths apply in this situation?
If you do not know what your strengths are go to Martin Seligman’s site Authentic Happiness (http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/Default.aspx) and take the VIA Character Strengths test.
And just in case you did not pick this up already – Yes it takes hard work. You will need to dedicate yourself to developing that which you are good in. It is not going to happen on its own. And the best of this fact is – the more you engage in this process, the more you live in flow. Lovely isn’t it?
Can I invite you to be true to yourself and start living your life. Start the process of exhibiting your wow-ness. Be everything you can be!
With love and flow