What Makes Life Worth Living?
Have you ever had a moment where you felt “in the zone” in whatever it was you were doing? Maybe you were organizing your closet, painting or coloring, playing an instrument, or writing – but whatever the activity was, all you knew was that time flew by.
If so, then you have experienced what psychologist Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi refers to as flow.
Dr. Csikszetmihalyi based his life’s work off of asking the question, “What makes life worth living?”
What the heck is Flow?
Flow is defined by Csikszentmihalyi as, “A state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”
Through his studies he found that those who are in a constant moment of flow seem to obtain happiness and life satisfaction.
According to Dr. Csikzetmihalyi, below are the 8 characteristics of flow:
- Complete concentration on the task
- Clarity of goals and reward in mind and immediate feedback
- Transformation of time (speeding up/slowing down of time)
- The experience is intrinsically rewarding
- Effortlessness and ease
- There is a balance between challenge and skills
- Actions and awareness are merged, losing self-conscious rumination
- There is a feeling of control over the task
So if this is proven, then how do you find your flow? How do you know what experiences are rewarding to you…when the clarity of goal exists, and when the activity is rewarding in itself?
The answer is in the discovery of your gifts. If you can tap into your gifts, you can tap into your flow.
Below are two ways you can start identifying your gifts:
One way of beginning to become aware is by reflecting and answering basic questions that are not commonly asked. For example, “What are you getting lost in now?” “What are you loving so much that you don’t want to be pulled away from?
Asking questions such as the ones above is a great starting point to help you discover your gifts. You can download my free worksheet of Unlocking the Treasure Chest to ask yourself more “flow” generated questions.
How will the pianist know he loves the piano if he’s never had the opportunity to play?
How do you know you love graphic design without ever learning Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator?
When you explore, you become aware of what you are called to do and not necessarily thinking about what you should do.
AWARENESS + EXPLORATION APPLIED
A fews years ago I volunteered at the San Fernando Mission Center to help the homeless build resumes and letter of applications.
By doing this I further realized all I really wanted was for people to get where they want to be – where they deserve to be, and to reach the potential they are capable of.
I believe in autonomy and having the time to spend with your family and doing whatever the hell you want while adding value to the world by doing what you love. Everything I do and create is to aid you in inspiration and action so that you have the happiest, most fulfilling life possible AND BONUS – let’s not deter from the obvious – doing what I love, also helps me to having the life I want just as it will for you too.
So what makes life worth living? Doing what fulfills your heart. Doing the things you love. Doing what makes you happy.