The thought for this Thursday is a passage from the free eBook written Cara Stein of 17000 Days.
“As you align yourself with your values and do challenging work that calls on your strengths, you will find yourself absorbed in what you’re doing. Sometimes time will pass without your notice, and you won’t be aware of yourself or your surroundings, just absorbed in your work. That’s called the flow state. You become one with your work. This is the source of deep gratification and great accomplishment. Here’s what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who named the flow state, has to say about it:
‘It is the full involvement of flow, rather than happiness, that makes for excellence in life. When we are in flow, we are not happy, because to experience happiness we must focus on our inner states, and that would take away attention from the task at hand… Only after the task is completed do we have the leisure to look back on what has happened, and then we are flooded with gratitude for the excellence of that experience—then, in retrospect, we are happy… The happiness that follows flow is of our own making, and it leads to increasing complexity and growth in consciousness.’
You’ll never get the flow state by watching tv, but activities like rock climbing, writing, skiing, painting, dancing, or programming are good candidates. For an activity to invoke the flow state, it must:
- require concentration
- be challenging but a good match for your skills
- provide immediate feedback
- represent a harmony between what you feel, want, and think.
It’s one of life’s ironies that we often choose to spend time passively as a gift to ourselves, when true satisfaction and deep happiness come from doing the things that require more of us.”
I love this idea. Often we (and I mean me here) use the need to relax as an excuse to justify wasting hours in front of the box (be it TV or computer). But what we really need to relax and make ourselves happy isn’t
losing playing endless games of Spider Solitaire, but is something more challenging and more satisfying.
“Work keeps at bay three great evils: boredom, vice, and need.” Voltaire, Candide
You can get the full free eBook called How to be happy at Cara’s Site 17000 Days.
Melissa Goodwin is a writer and the creator of Frugal and Thriving who has a passion for living frugally and encouraging people to thrive on any budget. The blog is nine years old and is almost like her eldest baby. Prior to being a blogger and mum (but not a mummy blogger), she worked as an accountant doing other people’s budgets, books and tax.