Find Your Flow and Optimal Experience

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Do you know why someone is always happy and creative while others look frustrated? It’s because they can’t find their flow. When you find your flow, the opinion of others does not matter, not even the time. You focus on your life and enjoy every moment immersed in your interests.

When you’re busy with your flow state activities, you don’t care about things like power or wealth.

And the book – Flow – helps you control your attention and achieve inner awareness. It is the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a professor of psychology. He is known for his numerous researches on psychology, creativity, and motivation.

If you’re feeling unsettled and anxious at the job, it’s time to read this book. It talks about methods like goal setting and feedbacks to improve your relationship with work, and also self-worth.

Listen to the summary at Blinkist or listen to the book at Audible.

Aim for enjoyment, not pleasure

Squeeze out the enjoyment of every moment and find your flow.
Squeeze out the enjoyment of every moment to truly get into the Zen state.

To get rid of distractions and anxiety, we tend to look towards external things like power and luxury. We compare ourselves with our peers and thus, feel unsettled. Then, we take shelter behind religion and crave for money, just to make ourselves complete, or at least feel like it.

The art of flow though, tells us about the Zen state of mind. It’s a state of complete immersion in your work, a phase when you desire nothing and focus only on yourself. 

To achieve this, you need to go beyond your comfort zone, to the zone of your flow. For example, when you cook something new, you put your attention towards it. It’s not very pleasing, but you enjoy doing it and it also, contributes in evolving self.

Read more: The Concept of Ikigai

Binge watching TV programs or flowing with alcohol, by the way, does no help to control attention. These activities instead, affect our concentration and hinders growth.

Concentrate on developing skills

Skill development is of utmost importance if you want to get yourself in the flow state.
Skill development is of utmost importance if you want to get yourself in the flow state.

When you find your flow, you enjoy being in that zone. You immerse yourself in the task at hand and dedicate full concentration in fulfilling it. 

Melanesian sailors, for example, can tell their exact location just by looking at the currents, such immersive they were in their job. Blindfold them, take them hundreds of kilometers away from home, and they will still surprise you.

When you have such an intense focus on something, you are beyond anxiety and worries. And one of the ways to do that is to develop new and challenging skills. 

For example, when you try to learn tennis, you will feel pleasure in just hitting the ball over the net. You’ll, however, get bored of it soon if there are no opponents to challenge you. The presence of someone better will motivate you to get ahead of them, and you devote yourself to tennis. 

One such example of discipline is Eva Zeisel. After Stalin’s police imprisoned her, Zeisel found ways to keep herself sane. She played chess with herself, wrote poetry and also did gymnastics.

Even practicing mindfulness can transform you. Being mindful of the surrounding or living in the flow with the music, gets you in the zone, where you’re free of the worldly concerns. And another way to focus and take control of the self is yoga.

Find your flow instead of flaw

Focusing on the evolving self will get you in a flow state and set you on the path of mindfulness.
Focusing on the evolving self will get you in a flow state and set you on the path of mindfulness.

Sports and exercise require focus and these can help you enter the flow state, and so does the mind games, as Eva Zeisel did. You can also try to engage your memory. 

Focusing on how to develop self, by immersing yourself in the things you love doing will get you into the flow state.

You can undertake things you always wanted to learn or go into the complex world of science and logic. Many scientists developed theories because they loved to polish their scientific skills. 

Read more: Finding Your Passion Changes Everything

Isaac Newton lived in a farmhouse, and instead of concentrating on his flaws, he formed the theory of gravity. The hobby of gardening led Gregor Mendel to give birth to genetics.

And how did they do it? They were mindful of the situations. When they wanted to understand something, they were in the state of flow. And so was Einstein, who made those revolutionary theories in his free time.

Spend time with family

Quality family time can boost your motivation and communication skills.
Quality family time can boost your motivation and communication skills.

While time spent alone allows you to pay attention to something, having quality time with family and friends is also important. Having enjoyable experiences and attempting challenges together can instill skills which you couldn’t have earlier. They can level up your communication skills, self-esteem and also, motivate you.

Moreover, don’t see any work as a way to get a reward. Take it as something which develops you and your skills. 

There was a railroad car welder who learned every task in the assembly line. Why? He enjoyed performing them. He refused promotions because it would mean letting go of those tasks. Yes, he found his flow state in working along the assembly line.

And you too can find your flow.

  • Practice being mindful of the environment.
  • Find your goal in life and act towards it.
  • Keep learning.

When you have something to focus on, you don’t leave any space for anxieties. Trust in your ability to handle situations and if something challenging comes up, find solutions that will help you develop. Don’t work only for promotions, instead find your flow.

Abhijeet Kumar a freelance content writer for
We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.