Everyone wants more ease in our lives…
We work very hard during the week so we can enjoy time off during the weekends. But did you know that you can actually do things to control flow in your life? Here’s how to create flow by learning to manage yourself.
“We cannot expect anyone to help us live;
we must discover how to do it by ourselves.”
Human beings live within a state of consciousness. It is our sentience that distinguishes us from other species. Consciousness becomes conditioned by many factors. For centuries, humans have connected consciousness to a belief in something much larger and more interconnected than an individual. Historically different cultures have defined this consciousness as God(s), the spirit, energy, a universal life force, nature, Tao, Chi, the eternal… It is so universal that to use words to define it sets arbitrary limits. For the purposes and application of consciousness within the dimensions of time and space, we will refer to this heightened state as consciousness as flow.
Defining Flow Experiences
Flow as defined by Mihaly Cskszentmihalyi is “the natural, effortless unfolding of life in a way that moves us toward wholeness and harmony.” Many people have experienced flow throughout their lives; where the elements of time and space seem to disappear, and an individual is absorbed in the present moment and task at hand. These moments are defined by Csikszentmihalyi as “Peak Experiences”… and are often reserved for top athletes, musicians, writers, and artists. But did you know that you can design your life to support flow, and intentionally create opportunities for more peak experiences… and that when you do, you’ll inevitably increase your overall satisfaction and happiness.
Csikszentmihalyi’s research determined that flow is almost universally perceived as an after-effect when a person sets clear goals, obtains immediate feedback and when his or her skills are challenged and engaged in heightened action opportunities. It follows that a life of flow then, can be a result of creating opportunities that keep pace with skills and provide ever-greater challenges.
However, consciousness does not just happen. Each day consists of 24 hours, each year 365 days, and the average life expectancy of any individual is hovering around 80 years. Just as no one person has more life than another, no one has more time (or space) than another.
The quality of your life depends on what you do in the years you have.
Creating more flow in your life requires conscientious awareness. Learning to distinguish your natural preferences, and weighing the components over which you have control, you can do things that intentionally create space and time for more peak experiences to occur in your life.
Creating more flow means navigating time and space with awareness. Deepening your awareness allows you more opportunities for heightened consciousness and increases your overall happiness.
Since everyone wants more ‘happiness’, creating more flow is critical in your life.
Another essential component for flow to occur is to manage your inner experience. Your inner experience can be understood as the conversation that occurs inside your head. It is powerful. Your inner dialog can easily change your state of awareness. It can impact it positively and negatively. By learning to shift the meaning of words you can help yourself. Try it! Use different words for example, consider “challenges” instead of “obstacles”, “look for solutions” instead of “dwelling on your problems”, and flip those failures to “opportunities to improve” or “problems to solve”.
In order to manage your inner experience, you need to do several things.
- Becoming aware
- Trust your feelings
- Accepting conditions as they are
- Making decisions
- Taking actions
- Reflecting to build new awareness along the way
Each of these skills relies on your ability to manage your own thoughts, internal dialog, or self-talk.
Secret 1 – Self-talk can be your best support or your worst enemy.
Our internal experience is almost always colored by self-talk. Self-talk is defined as an internal dialog apparent only to the communicator. Internal dialog is affected by life experience, attitude, environment, and life stage. Self-talk can be defined as one’s internal perspective or ‘view’ and may either serve or stand in the way of an individual’s consciousness and behavior. Self-talk permeates nearly every situation.
Are you aware of your self-talk? What do you typically say to yourself? Are you kind, encouraging, and empowering, or do you ridicule, chide and hold yourself hostage?
Secret 2 – Build Awareness by developing curiosity.
Awareness is when you attain a level of cognizance of who you are and what you do (or do not do) naturally. You gain awareness through sensations, perceptions, thoughts, feelings and actions. Awareness is a process of gathering information and data and noticing what you see.
Where do you have low insight? What typically comes up over and over again for you that may blind your awareness? The Time & Space Style Inventory helps increase personal awareness by defining behaviors that describe traits and tendencies effectively. When certain behaviors are given voice through words, they are easier to observe and therefore easier to address if you desire to change your time management and organizing behaviors.
Secret 3 – Learn to trust your feelings as fair barometers of tension and joy.
Trust means you’re confident and certain. Trust is an essential condition upon which individuals must rely to minimize risk and protect themselves. Managing one’s internal experience is dependent upon integrity, strength, ability, confidence, hope, and certainty.
What trust traps show up for you? Where do you struggle with your confidence? What feels too risky that holds you back? The Time & Space Style Inventory helps increase one’s confidence in his/her strengths and abilities, enables him to support his natural tendencies better, and allowing him to let go of that which does not serve him.
Secret 4 – Move toward accepting conditions as they are.
Acceptance is a mental attitude. This mindset is a powerful state of accepting things as they are. Acceptance involves a complex system of beliefs and feelings, values and behaviors that combine to form an internal core belief that something is true as it is, for what it is.
What stands in the way of living in acceptance? Where does judgment show up and take over your life – keeping you stuck? The Time & Space Style Inventory helps people accept their natural style strengths and abilities, and gives them proven techniques, behaviors, and products to support themselves and things they should avoid.
Secret 5 – Make decisions and see what happens instead of waiting for the right decision.
Creating more flow in your life requires you to make decisions.
Deciding provides you the power to affect an outcome. Additionally, decisions provide you with the freedom to choose. However, each decision comes with consequences. Therefore, the ability to make decisions hinges upon your ability to reliably weigh potential consequences. So, an open perspective can help you weigh the pros and cons of potential decisions.
What stands in the way of making decisions more powerfully?
Where do you encounter decision delays and difficulties? The Time & Space Style Inventory helps people make more confident decisions by giving a predictable consequence relevant to their style preferences.
Flow Secret 6 – Action is essential to change.
Taking Action means acting or doing. While many people want to do things, you don’t make progress by thinking things done. You have to take action before you see results.
Above all, when you take action, you accomplish things. And it often follows that outcomes result from a series of smaller activities. These meta-actions can produce unpredictable results. So before you take any action there is a moment known as a “choice point”. These are places to pause and consider your options. Moreover, choice points are times when you can pivot and explore opportunities for more flow. And if you struggle to take action, coaching is a great place to start.
What stands in your way to taking the right action more often? Where do you feel struggle and conflict? When do you shut down? The Time & Space Style Inventory helps people to move toward action more readily and accomplish more.
Flow Secret 7 – Reflect upon your experiences and learn from them.
Reflecting means thinking and considering your actions and consequences. It is in reflection that one can assimilate learning and heightened consciousness from an experience. Reflection can be either an internal or external expression of learning.
The Time & Space Style Inventory heightens consciousness and overall satisfaction by providing answers to life-long struggles and questions.
Flow steps help you manage your time, organize your space and refer to how you arrange space (i.e., do you like things out where you can see them or hidden away behind closed doors?)
There are no “better” or “worse” personality styles. And we all display typical behaviors regardless of time, space, resources, culture, or location. So, styles are demonstrated over time and your past is a good place to look for style evidence. Additionally, most of us display a combination of behavioral styles and so we look at tension as an indicator for change.
What’s important is to understand who you are naturally. Then you can manage your resources to support your natural behavioral tendencies.
Please share your thoughts about how you create more flow in your life below.
Consider the current obstacles to experiencing more flow in your life today? Please share your comments, thoughts, and ideas with others below.