About a month ago, I was taking a course and one of the mentors was an expert in Flow. I asked a simple question, “How do you choose activities that maximize flow?” The expert avoided the question and provided examples of how to set up my work space and routine to attract flow. How does my environment magically attract flow?
Most people try to get into flow by limiting distractions and controlling their environment.
Unfortunately, these rituals are only mildly helpful. They are not the panacea nor catalyst we think they are. They don’t actually stimulate flow. Flow is created by finding that sweet spot that requires our attention and effort, but where the work itself is rewarding. Flow is defined by the Flow Genome Project as the “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.”
The key is to pick an activity or task that maximizes the steepness of the learning curve.
By placing yourself on the cliff-face of the learning curve you are maximizing your opportunity for quick rewards.
There are two types of rewards:
- Surprise and Discovery
- Progress and Improvement
How do you systematically create opportunities to be surprised or improve?
Follow your curiosity.
Following your curiosity is easy and rewarding. Go where your motivation pushes you. At first, it may feel haphazard, but there is a sort of laissez-faire-magical-hand that guides you and helps you course correct. As your exploration slows and languishes – a.k.a. the learning curve flattens, curiosity and momentum drop, pushing you to explore new fields of curiosity. Overtime, your curiosity becomes refined and sharpened, pushes the limits of your understanding, and your discoveries develop into a unique expertise.
My success can be attributed to following the two most pressing questions of my mid-20s: (1) how to grow a business; and (2) how to create cash flow from property. Those two topics alone fed my curiosity for more than a decade, deepened my understanding of many topics such as finances, sales, marketing, entrepreneurship, economics, politics, and finally led to deep experience and expertise.
As I start my next career, I’m letting my curiosity drive my adventure. I’m confident that the journey will be more rewarding than anything I’ve ever done.