But I need a quiet space and my favorite coffee cup and my dog at my feet and …
I don’t buy it.
Don’t get me wrong. I used to believe it. But now that I know how to attain the flow state on a regular basis, I don’t fall for anyone who says they can’t achieve it.
Here’s what Wikipedia says about Flow:
In positive psychology, flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does. — Wikipedia
This is the good part, ” … complete absorption in what one does.” That’s what we’re after, what many of us are seeking on a regular basis–or even once in a while would be nice! That state of mind where time flies by (and stands still), where you don’t think, you just do or act. It’s when you aren’t necessarily yourself, but you might even see yourself as a sort of messenger and you are just transferring or transmuting the message from a higher power.
If you lost me on that last bit, I’m not sure you’ve reached a flow state.
Remember Simple but not Easy? Yeah, that’s what’s going on here.
It is simple. It’s a state. Once you know how to get there, it’s then also easy. Tricky, right? Not so much.
In case you need a real-world example, here’s what happens when I’m in the flow state when I’m writing.
The quickest way to describe it is that I’m watching a movie and just writing down what I see. But the crazy part is that I’m not the director or the producer or necessarily even an actor in this movie. I wrote the first few chapters of a novel a few weeks ago and I was as eager as the reader to learn what was going to happen next. Because I honestly didn’t know. I kept “watching” (the movie in my imagination) and kept writing it out so that I could get to what was going to happen next. It was thrilling, shocking, and yes, way, way, way fun.
In fact, I’m not sure I know of something a whole lot more fun than being in the flow state.
“Dude, sounds awesome. I got the example. Tremendous. So please, do tell, how do you get into it voluntarily?”
It’s simple. Practice.
I’ve got a bit of a thing for Every Single Day. I’m a card-carrying member of the ESD Society and I now know, from experience, that we can bring about the flow state quite easily. It’s simple, it’s easy.
- Make it happen.
- Do again what you did in step 1.
Our minds are like muscles. We can work them out. We can train them. We can get them into shape. You can’t just jump off the couch, turn off House of Cards and go run a marathon–if you’re not in running shape. But you can run around the block. That’s Step 1.
If you work at it every day, no, sorry, Every Single Day, you build that muscle, you get into shape and you can fall into the flow state.
I’m going to stop trying to convince you and just let you have it. Give it, oh, I don’t know, 10 Days. If you’re a writer, here’s a free 10-Day Writing Challenge to get you started.
When should you start? Oh, oh, I know! Let’s see, uh, today is good.
Let me know how it goes.