Being in the flow

16 Feb

I’ve scarcely composed/read blogs this past month. Although at first I felt I was uninspired that isn’t true.I am not stressed. I don’t worry about folks who judge me through a snapshot or a tiny window of their interaction with me be it office or home even if their job requires such a verdict be made(a superior needing to evaluate a subordinate). I used to wonder whether it was working or cooking or painting or exercising that makes  me experience positive emotions. However its not about the emotions, rather the state of optimal living which is in agreement to me.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi coined the flow theory which talks about the highly focused mental state which arises as a result of single-minded immersion. Living life this way is highly harmonious to fellow human beings. It dramatically improves overall satisfaction in life. I often find myself emerging from having been in the zone. It could be at work accomplishing a challenging task, could be at home while entertaining the kiddo, could be while cooking which is a highly focussed task for me. The nice aspect is that it is subjective to each individual.

I saw this comic strip which shows a line up of some 15 odd jungle animals.There is a man who shouts “First animal to cross the finish line wins!!!”. There is humor in attempting to evaluate the 15 animals through a single yardstick. That is today’s world. If you don’t do a 100 things you are assumed to be “last” whatever that means. But this flies in the face of critical  thinking. One of the things I often try to do but fail miserably is to shift the focus from negative thoughts, other peoples negative opinion or treatment of me. No, what is needed is to think about them, then simple move on to more engaging tasks. If you have found yourself in the flow (lost track of time, achieved something , stay focussed on the task) I would love to hear what you were doing . If you often achieve such a state,I would love to learn some techniques.

 

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4 Responses to “Being in the flow”

  1. meenasehar February 17, 2016 at 10:53 am #

    May be the trick is to not expect ‘acceptance’.It is difficult and is a natural expectation for everyone.Acceptance from people around us actually does good to our mental state.It makes us feel confident and secure.But when we don’t get this acceptance or if there is a negative evaluation of our personality,especially by people around us,people with whom we spend a lot of time,it does affect us a lot.But not requiring another person’s acceptance and overcoming that personal expectation,is very liberating – else it often makes people feel victimized and negative.

    • balanceoriented February 17, 2016 at 5:29 pm #

      Thanks for your comment MK , while your point is valid it is not the tone of the blog. The point I am making is to place less weight on the emotions or measurement or grade etc or standardized judgements, rather to divert the energy into what will provide overall satisfaction in every aspect of life. i.e to achieve single minded focus in tasks (not my opinon – Mihaly C’s book ‘Flow’ is a fantastic read!).
      W.r.t what you state, I completely agree! Research states that when a person is asked whether they are in general happy or sad, said person answers it based on their state at the time of the interview. Similarly evaluation changes everyday, bad today, good tomorrow, acceptable today , unacceptable tomorrow etc. Hope that made sense.In the end, everyone has positive and negative traits, to negatively be “evaluated” for a time being is quite normal I believe 🙂

  2. samakris February 17, 2016 at 7:15 pm #

    Harmonious relations with felow beings is the key.

    Tirukkural verse “ulagathodu otta ozhugal , pala katrum kallar ariviladhar” is a famous one. Western philosophers also have stressed that happy acceptance of people as they are is the sign of a healthy mind. The ability to understand and stay cool while encountering disagreeable behavior is hailed as the sign of high evolution, ranking above intelligence.

    • balanceoriented February 17, 2016 at 7:34 pm #

      Oh fantastic tirukural verse! I strongly recommend the book ‘flow’ appa. I will ship a copy to you. I find myself growing wary of traditional western views with regards to success and therein lies the appeal of satisfaction for everyman based on his or her ability. I love the last sentence of your post, will make it my motto!!! Live and let live methinks.

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