If Oprah Winfrey says “everyone has a calling,” how do I find mine? Get in the flow, say the experts. Claremont University professor, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, says people are happiest when they are totally immersed in what they are doing. Steven Pressfield says “just sitting down” is how you start.
Just sitting down
“If you want to paint, just sit down in front of an easel. If you want to write, sit in front of a keyboard.” That is the best way to get started. See the video accompanying this article for his explanation. It is just a snippet from the hour-long interview of Pressfield by Oprah Winfrey on “Super Soul Sunday,” which aired the end of September 2013.
In the flow
Being in the zone or in the groove means being totally absorbed in what you are doing. Nothing around you will distract you. It is like the quarterback calling out signals to his team with the ball on the one-yard line in the last play of the game. The crowd is roaring but he does not hear it. That quarterback has dedicated his life to excelling at one thing: nothing else matters.
Completely absorbed in what you do
Csikszentmihalyi, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University, says get in a state in which you are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. You will feel energized and fully involved and you will enjoy the activity. Your emotions are not just contained and channeled, but are actually energized.
Csikszentmihalyi says beware of hyperfocus, which can distract from your other responsibilites. For example:
- Do not spend too much time if your zone is playing video games, texting or chatting at the coffee machine.
- Do not get side-tracked by focusing too much on the fun part of the task to the detriment of the assignment in general.
- Do not start several projects before you have completed the task at hand.
See more from Pressfield to follow.