“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” ~ Confucius
When 2018 started, I said to myself, “this year needs to have a theme.” After much deliberation and consideration, I chose, “If you’re going to do it, do it with love!” Little did I know, this theme would inspire me more than I could ever dream of.
What does this mean to me? Well, it means that you are so in love with the work that you are doing and the people you are surrounded with, that you feel like you’ve never had to actually “work” a day in your life. It also means that when you are working on a project, you let the world disappear and are hyper-focused on the task at hand. I could compare it to the feeling one gets when they fall in love; the world simply disappears. I wanted to experience that exact feeling in my professional life.
When I started my first company I finally had the chance to experience this feeling. For the first time in my life, I felt a sense of purpose, something I never felt in school or in other professional positions. When I started my first company, I felt like I had created my own little world. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to work 15 hours a day, especially in a small and cramped apartment. However, I loved what I was doing and later found out that there is a proper term for this feeling.
*“Flow State.” Here is an explanation from the man who developed it, “A state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.” *
– Csikszentmihalyi, 1990
I find his description extremely powerful. It shows us how to become productive, while also falling in love with our work to ensure we live the happiest life we can live, all in the same moment.
If you don’t feel like reading today, here is a video that explains “flow state:”
Although it wasn’t his term, I think Albert Einstein said it best, “A Happy Man is too satisfied with the present to dwell too much on the future.”
If you want to learn the factors that create flow state, Huffington post listed these 10 factors:
- Having clear goals about what you want to achieve.
- Concentration and focus.
- Participating in an intrinsically rewarding activities.
- Losing feelings of self-consciousness.
- Timelessness; losing track of time passing.
- Being able to immediately judge your own progress; instant feedback on your performance.
- Knowing that your skills align with the goals of the task.
- Feeling control over the situation and the outcome.
- Lack of awareness of physical needs.
- Complete focus on the activity itself.
Interestingly enough, it has been said that a certain personality trait makes one more easily achieve “flow state.” The personality trait is called Autotelic. Autotelic is described as, “an individual who generally does things for their own sake, in the “here and now,” rather than for some later goal,” from Wikipedia.
For me, this is something that have yet to master, but when I enter my flow state, the most beautiful ideas come to life. At this point in my career, I probably only reach flow state two weeks out of the month. What happens when I reach it? The entire world disappears and the ideas I have rolling around in my head flow out into my work.
According to Mihaly Cskikszentmihalyi, “Happiness is not a rigid state that can’t be changed. On the contrary, happiness takes a committed effort to be manifested. After the baseline set point, there is a percentage of happiness that every individual has the responsibility to take control of. He believes that flow is crucial to creating genuine happiness.”
You can’t lose when you think this way. The opportunity to create awesome work through finding your flow state is something I will continue to explore. For now, it is something I am trying to master.
As I learn more and hack this, I will continue to share and update my experiences with you.
Please comment below and let me know if you have any tricks to share when entering your flow state.
For now, that’s all!
Patrick J Peters III
Chief Marketing Officer