One of the main lessons I have learned in the past few years is the value to me of flow activities. By flow I mean the type of task you get so wrapped up in you lose track of time. This time loss I believe is the result of intense, sustained concentration.
I am not a psychologist nor do I play one on T.V. I will not attempt to describe the details. I would not do them justice. There are many excellent books and resources out there if your interested. The Book Flow is a in depth work, worth the read if your interested and the best, most authoritative starting place I know of.
Even after some research/reading, the term seemed a bit overwhelming, mystical and all encompassing. I have come to know it is not. The state of flow is obtainable, at will, with practice and putting one’s self in the proper conditions. Once you identify an activity that puts you in flow, you can, overtime, develop a process and move into flow whenever you engage in the activity.
For instance, when working on creative projects such as video editing, vector animations, even developing custom spread sheets all lead to flow for me. A few hands on projects around the house also allow me to slip into a flow state rather easy. Carpentry projects for my daughter, bookshelves, etc. for my office, all work.
They key seems to be there must exist a unknown to solved, then a process of solving smaller tasks leading to completion. I may have an idea of the final solution, but a certain amount of trial and error seems vital.
My process is simple. I need to schedule time, no less than 4 hours in my case. If I feel pushed for time or in a rush, flow eludes me. I must be solo. Joint projects don’t induce flow for me. Like many writers and creatives I perfer to work alone anyway. That’s pretty much it.
Why you ask? Why take the time? For me, as an introvert, flow is a release valve, a reset button and a tonic my brain craves after I force myself from my basic personality characteristics. You see, I can stand in front of hundreds of people or small groups to speak, or teach. I can in every sense of the word chameleon myself into a chatty extrovert.
It has taken practice, time and effort. I must deeply believe the reason to do so important. I can’t fake it, and say, sell used cars. If the topic is important to me I can flip the extrovert switch, like an actor slipping into character.
However, this ability comes with a price. The price is a need to shut down, withdraw inward and be the ultimate introvert. A flow state does this for me. It allows the debris of living, woking, training and teaching to settle, to allow the core of who I am to reassert and reset.
Before I understood this aspect of myself, of introversion and how to return to a normal state after turning “extro” I wondered if being a trainer was the choice for me. I now realize the obstacle of introversion is the path for me, for my career, and my artistic pursuits. Flow and flow activities are a key part of the process. Perhaps for some of you as well.
Here is a short video of my last “Flow” project. I decided to make a short video to test some new camera gear and refine my editing skills. I wanted to show the passage of time without words, or other obvious means. I also wanted to show the process as it is from my perspective, the lapse in time, the repetition, the trial and error. I limited myself to 2 minutes or less. First, so as to not bore you. Second, I am the most creative when self imposed or external restrictions are in place. The tighter the rules, the higher the performance.
Thanks for reading,