Monday, July 01, 2013

How to Hack Your Life Into Flow

To have a productive, enriching and fulfilling life, many psychologists (as well as coaches, gurus, athletes, performers, ...) recommend incorporating as much "flow activities" into your life as possible. Flow activities are basically those in which you immerse yourself willingly and totally, and emerge from them with a continued sense of achievement (e.g., learning an instrument or new language).

To find flow in your hobbies is just a preview of what is possible. The basic concepts of flow can be (and for your sake, should be) extended to our personal as well as professional life. But how do we do that? To me, it is all about our personal approach and perspective (Weltanschauung) on life. In fact, the answer seems to be hiding in plain view, at the intersection of two questions about the most ancient human mental and physical activities:

1) Is life more like a game of chess (predictable, deterministic) or backgammon (where randomness and skill play off of each other)?

2) Is life more like a marathon (where endurance reigns supreme) or a sprint (where episodic bursts of energy need to be followed by periods of rest and rejuvenation)?

My bias and response to these questions is obvious from the diagram above (inspired by weekend conversation with a new and cherished friend, Jerzy).

What do you think? Please share your insights.

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