Get Into That Flow

pexels-photo-355288 (1)I was just a 7th grader on the Jr. high basketball team. Basketball was never really my sport, but on this particularly day I was EN FUEGO. I shot (and made) so many free throws that our coach instructed the rest of the team to give me the ball so i could keep sinking foul shots.

Each time I went to the line, the basket looked enormous, the ball small, and I felt like I was within inches of the basket. None of those things were true, but I was LOCKED. IN. I was focused. I was in “the zone”. It turns out, I was experiencing “flow”.

FLOW: when you are fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement and enjoyment in the process of the activity.
It was an experience that I continue to remember vividly; not because it was an important game (in the grand scheme, it wasn’t); not because it launched my basketball career (it didn’t). But because I was in a place of focus and enjoyment that is all too often elusive: flow.

This concept, explored most famously by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (We’ll call him M.C., for obvious reasons). M.C. argues that when our minds, hearts, and bodies are stretched to their limits, voluntarily, to accomplish something difficult or worthwhile. . . we enter the mental state of flow.

It can be exercise. It can be sport. It can be art. It can be work. In all arenas, flow is possible when we live deeply with focus.

This is worth a pause to consider:

  • When was the last time you voluntarily stretched yourself to the limit for something worthwhile?
  • When was the last time you were so focused and immersed in something that you legitimately lost track of time?
If we strive to work deeply, if we prioritize our lives for the things that matter, if we’re bold enough to get rid of the superfluous and prioritize things that matter. . . what would happen?

Let’s find out. It’s worth the risk, because i’ve learned,

If you’re always staring at your phone, you’ll never have the opportunity to lose track of time.
Let’s try to stretch ourselves for something that matters. . . and lose track of time. And if you reach that state of flow, let me know. I’d love to hear about it.

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