You know the moment. The time flies by, you aren’t really thinking, you feel somewhat lost in time and space in an activity. Often heard of as FLOW. It’s that moment when you seem so absorbed in what you are doing, and I mean in a good way. Not in a stressful, ‘this is hard’ way. You are in a zone that puts a smile on your face and unleashes your energy. If you were to watch yourself in FLOW on a movie screen there would be little sparks flying off your body with rainbow colours swirling around you as you complete whatever task you are doing, whatever it is that puts you in flow.
Of course, FLOW can be interpreted in different ways. Does having FLOW mean you have to be creating a piece of ART or inventing something? FLOW could simply be reading a book, pulling out the weeds in the garden or drinking a gorgeous hot cup of coffee made by your local barista just the way you like it.
Then we have a purpose, this feeling and belief we have a particular purpose in life. Sometimes we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves that we must have a particular purpose or maybe that pressure is on a person, maybe your child or partner, the pressure that they are your only purpose. If we can combine flow and purpose into one, we could simply say in a nutshell that you would be doing things that make you happy.
Often the dream in society is to retire and do nothing but then if we look at the blue zones around the world, places where people live the longest lives, retirement doesn’t mean stopping work. If you look at the book Ikigai, the Japanese philosophy for life, people often continue doing what they were paid to do in retirement simply because they like it.
Just think, you aren’t working, have no hobbies, maybe the kids are grown up, you outsource the gardening and cleaning and get shopping delivered. What do you do? If you have nothing to do and nothing that makes you want to get out of bed then life would be pretty tough.
So, what’s the answer? The answer is making your life feel as fulfilled as possible starting now.
- Write a list of what makes you feel in flow.
- What can you incorporate into your daily life now?
- Write a list of what makes you unhappy.
- What can you eliminate or outsource so you free up time for the things that make you happy?
Often, we can get lost in our thoughts or get distracted by media thinking that we SHOULD be living a certain way or achieving a certain something. Of course, someone’s Instagram feed isn’t showing the whole picture, just a small snippet of their life that they want to show you.
If you feel stuck at all when trying to think of what makes you, happy, in FLOW or gives you purpose, think about the following;
1.Previous jobs you have had that made you happy- what you were doing at your happiest?
2. People – surround yourself with people that are on your wavelength, are honest, positive and share similar values. They can also challenge you a little too!
3. Think about when you last learnt something. Sometimes after completing university or college we can become stagnant. So have a think about what you are interested in. Can you buy some books, listen to audible, podcasts or maybe there’s a course that you’ve always had an interest in but never started.
What about volunteering or getting involved with your local community? There is something special about knowing your neighbours and seeing a friendly face when walking down your street. It can give you a real sense of belonging.
There is also one other consideration and a great example of this is the film SOUL by PIXAR. Yes, Pixar. I am 40 and think their movies are fantastic at teaching children and adults some valuable lessons. The message in this film is that you should be careful not to get fixated on one singular thing to the point that you didn’t see all over the other things around you.
Finding your flow and purpose is a blend of different things, we can go back to the wellness wheel again with this (the wellness wheel shows 8 dimensions that contribute to your overall wellbeing). Think about flow, purpose, and touch on the different dimensions in your life that affect your overall wellbeing and wellness. Sometimes you already have everything you need but you just didn’t notice. So, to finish, how about you write down 10 things that you can see in your life right now that bring you to flow, purpose and happiness. The solution? Do more of it!