When you lose track of time and space and find yourself focused on a mental or physical task, you are experiencing flow. As Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi writes in his popular book, Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life, happiness and fulfillment are possible when you make consistent time for activities that support flow.
What do you enjoy doing? Think beyond watching TV or scrolling on social media.
Maybe flow happens for you at work. Perhaps it happens when engaged in a leisure activity. Finding flow should remain a priority amidst staying informed about the war, Biden’s appointment of Shalanda Young, and covid resurges.
Why am I writing about flow this week?
I am writing my first novel, and the process feels different from previous academic books. There are days when editing and revising the 250-page manuscript is easy. However, I often experience frustration and a deep desire to work on anything but revisions.
Revisiting Csikszentmihalyi’s research about happiness, fulfillment, and creativity is helping me get through a difficult chapter. Keep reading if you are experiencing similar challenges with motivation and drive in your life.
One of the ways that I encourage myself to continue writing is by visiting bookstores. I shop for new titles and visualize seeing my books for sale on the shelves. You can find my current books online and possibly in a local library. While in LA, I went to the Black-owned bookstore, Eso Won Books, located in Leimert Park.
In my search for a Walter Mosley novel, I sparked up a conversation with one of the owners of Eso Won. He told me that when Mosley visited his store for a book signing, he discussed the discipline of committing to writing every day. This easy but difficult act of showing up empowered Mosley to write more than sixty books.
It’s safe to assume that writing enables Mosley to release flow.
Let's revisit the earlier question and add a layer. Is there something you enjoy and can commit to doing every day? It doesn't have to require a lot of time, but it should align with your interests and challenge you somehow.
You can tune in to the channel that showcases your creativity in full form with commitment and consistency.
Flow happens most frequently when I write, exercise, or get absorbed in a video editing project. I lose awareness of my environment when locked in on a page, capoeira sequence, jogging route, lifting weights, or organizing a scene.
Should you expect flow whenever you sit, stand, or move in alignment with your divine gifts? No. Avoid putting any form of pressure on yourself to perform. Instead, support yourself by creating or joining an environment that encourages productivity.
Will you experience challenges? Yes.
I returned from LA last week and struggled to get back into my full routine for a few days. Although I exercised and wrote while away, the emotional and physical tolls of traveling lingered with me. I found flow in this piece through meditation, exercise, and then resuming other aspects of my daily disciplines.
Make an effort to experience flow this weekend. Do something that brings you joy. If you have to stay up late or wake early one day, do it to break yourself out of the rise, traffic, work, eat, bed, and repeat rut.
If this post helped you, continue to support my flow activities by subscribing to this blog, buying one of my books, or enrolling in one of my courses.