Saturday, March 01, 2008

Curious about Flow: Different Ways to Experience It

Definition of Flow: To proceed; to issue forth; as, wealth flows from industry and economy; To have or be in abundance; to abound; to full, so as to run or flow over; to be copious. A continuous movement of something abundant; as, a flow of words. Any gentle, gradual movement or procedure of thought, diction, music, or the like, resembling the quiet, steady movement of a river; a stream.

Flow with whatever is happening and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.” – Zhuangzi, Chinese philosopher

Surrender to the flow.” - Mike Gordon, American musician

I chose the word “Flow” for this week’s blog, because it is a principle that Ellie Drake presents in her It’s Easier Done than Said program. Who is Ellie Drake? She is a bright and beautiful young woman who is involved with a new NetWeb marketing project. I attended her NetWeb marketing Bootcamp a couple of weeks ago and was so impressed I purchased her 90 day transformation program.

The idea of Flow was originally introduced to me through Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and his books. The one I recommend is Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. He describes the experience of flow as: “In the course of my studies I tried to understand as exactly as possible how people felt when they most enjoyed themselves, and why. . . . I developed a theory of optimal experience based on the concept of flow – the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost for the sheer sake of doing it.”

Over the years, I have found that for myself when I am in a state of flow I am not only enjoying myself, I also lose complete track of time. When you are in flow, what are you engaged in and by? If you tell me that you are never in flow, I suggest that you re-examine what you are spending you time upon. And, then purchase the book and get into the flow.

I found some interesting quotations – some that relate and some that don’t. But they all revolve around flow:
  • Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them - that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” - Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher
  • I just go with the flow, so any style can be in my music - that makes it exciting.” - Yoko Ono, American artist
  • Memory is funny. Once you hit a vein the problem is not how to remember but how to control the flow.” - Tobias Wolff, American writer
  • The opposite for courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow.” - Jim Hightower, American activist
  • Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice, and... when they fail to do this purpose they become dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.” - Martin Luther King, Jr., American leader
  • Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change - this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And out of hope, progress.” - Bruce Barton, American author
  • Experience has taught me how important it is to just keep going, focusing on running fast and relaxed. Eventually it passes and the flow returns. It's part of racing.” - Frank Shorter, American athlete

In addition, I will leave you with the following quotations to consider and think about:

I live my life on self-belief and I live it partly on going with the flow.” - Melanie Brown, English musician

Life has a balance and natural order. I'm not fighting the flow anymore. My career right now is very up. It's happening naturally and it's happening well.” - Irene Cara, American actress

How and when have you experienced flow? I would love to read your story.