Are you operating in the sweet spot? On flow...
"So, if it was hard, what made you keep going?"
This question came from my sister-in-law on the topic of my recent adventure travelling overland from Turkey to France.
I had told her that, actually, I’d found the trip hard – it was always hot, often still 25 degrees at night; the hills were steeeep (we were cycle-touring a lot of the time); my arms, hands and back ached a lot, and I discovered that after a sticky, sweaty, sunscreeny day I was unable to sleep without showering, which made camping not as fun as it used to be ...
And yet stiff and sore in the sticky, steep heat I still wanted to keep going.
The question puzzled me for a couple of days – I wasn’t sure that the scenery and people and discovery around the next bend amounted to the sum of the motivation.
Then, re-reading Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow, I realised it was quite possibly flow that propelled me through the intense emotional, physical and interpersonal challenges that came up again and again, daily, in fact.
Most of the time, my skills met the challenge of the minute, the hour. It was hard going yet fulfilling because I was being neither lazy nor busy. I wasn’t under-stimulated or overly anxious. I was living in the sweet spot, somewhere between boredom and overwhelm.
Embarrassing to miss this, after blogging about flow for quite a few years! Ahem.
The question for writers and businesses that engage in meaningful communications is – are you operating in the sweet spot? If not, why not?
A number of questions follow … What does flow feel like? Have I ever been there before? When will I know when I get there? How do I get me some (or a lot!) of that? In 2017, the team at A story to tell … will be talking to all of these questions and more.
But indeed, the bigger question is – why would I even go there?
Because it’s not good enough to have a few days’ relaxing holiday then adopt the same old habits from the year before. We have to be in tune with ourselves as much and as often as we can. Flow’s the way in.
May your words pour onto the page,