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Monday, March 18, 2013


It seems that things come into our lives when we most need them. Sometimes we feel like we could do without them and other times we really wish we didn't have to deal with them at all. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.

I am allured by a sense of discovery and adventure. I know many people are. It's exciting and creates drama and suspense. Sometimes it seems that watching a movie with drama and suspense is more palatable than experiencing it ourselves, however many decide to embark on journeys that push the envelope and change their own or quit possibly the world's reality and current state of being through paths they chose to encounter or sometimes are forced to encounter.

Today, I bring to you an excerpt from a book called Flow by mihaly csikszentmihalyi.

At some point, I think today may have been what I would call the worst day ever. I will spare you the details, however, I managed to get through it. I took a break and cleared my head and got back to work.  I've been working on a project that seems to be giving me a bit of trouble and difficulty.

Later in the day, I was looking for something that I thought I slid into a book.  I picked up the book Flow and proceeded to look for what I was missing. I have yet to finish this book, but I grabbed the spine and flipped through the pages hoping the paper I needed would fall out. This book is a national best seller. Its sub title is 'the psychology of optimal experience.' The New York Times describes it as "Important...Illuminates the way to happiness." This book is about finding your flow with what you do best and making the most out of your life.

As I got to the end, without any I thought, I scanned what looked like highlighted text in the back of the book. Someone had highlighted a section in the post script portion in the book, toward the end. I can't recall if I did this, which one would assume I did because I bought the book new, but I do have a bad habit of jumping to the end of a book that I feel is just repeating itself to get the moral of the story. I wasn't recalling marking up this book at any point though.

As I proceeded to read it, I felt like a guardian angel was looking over me. Now let me just tell you a little bit about my day. Since I was perceiving it to be awful, you can imagine my state of mind was not quit in alignment, possibly slightly irritated and maybe using some choice words because of the challenges that I was facing. (keep in mind I said possibly. I would never act immature or childish in anyway if I was upset, just so you understand me correctly) What I began reading was...

"A few, like the ones who tell their stories in this book, are more responsive to the rewards of discovery. But we all respond to both of these rewards; the tendencies toward conserving energy as well as using it constructively are simultaneously part of our inheritance. Which one wins depends not only on our genetic makeup but also presumably on our early experiences."

I was feeling intrigued by this. Interested in the fact that my prior experiences in life were allowing me to react to my day as I was. What really jumped out at me was...

"However, unless enough people are motivated by the enjoyment that comes from confronting challenges, by discovering new ways of being and doing, there is no evolution of culture, no progress in thought or feeling. It is important, therefore, to understand better what enjoyment consists of and how creativity can produce it....It was clear from talking to them (those telling their stories in the book) that what kept them motivated was the quality of experience they felt when they were involved with the often involved painful, risky, difficult activities that stretched the person's capacity and involved an element of novelty and discovery. This optimal experience is what I have called flow."

So, flow is something that just happens like magic after lots of practice and new ways of development occur, however, what is important to note is that there is often pain, risk and challenge that go into finding flow and it is the element of experience that keeps us hanging on and pushing forward.

Interestingly enough, the Progressive Insurance commercial spokesperson, Flo, comes to mind. She seems to have a certain flow about her. She knows her stuff and is willing to put herself out there to prove her point. I think we can all take some advice from Flo(w).

We all need to recognize that difficulties that stretch our capabilities are often the most pivotal in our lives and that working through the pain, risk and/or challenge is what makes us who we are. If more of us aren't willing to endure this, than our culture will remain status quo.

I'm sure I must have read this portion of the book at some point and skipped to the end to highlight probably the most important statements of the entire book. However, I'm sure glad that on a day when I needed to hear those words most that they jumped off the page right at me to help me recognize what I was feeling was natural and part of figuring out these challenges and opportunities in front of me.  At the end of the day, I realized it really is my duty to carry on. Que the music...Fun, Carry On. (official video)

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