Automatic: Flow or Drone?

Today, I mow over another bit of the past. Removing pages that shouldn’t be around, and continually trimming things that I no longer want in this page.

Yesterday, I was on a set, and people were earnestly talking to me, yet I was completely detached. I gave minimally-required responses that were expected to make a conversation interactive, in hopes that maybe it would eventually blossom into a real conversation that I feel I could participate in.

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot into Mindfulness, and trying to be mindful with the current moment, and those around me. I obviously was not being mindful of where I was, and what I was doing. I wasn’t just disengaged from the conversation, but also from my actions as well. I was just doing my job automatically without thinking about the tasks at hand, I just did them. Meanwhile, my mind drifted away into other thoughts.

In fact, I’ve been doing this for so long, that it’s become my modus operandi. Then,
I got to thinking about this phenomenon: Even though I’m doing these things automatically because I’m familiar with them, I’m not in a “State of flow”.

In essence, the state of flow means that you are fully immersed in a specific activity, where you are fully focused and completely energized. Some call this “being in the zone”.

So when was the last time I actually had this feeling of total immersion? I can’t remember, but here are some ways to identify them:

  • So focused on something that everything disappears.
  • All action and awareness is dedicated to that one thing.
  • Time can either speed up or slow. Self-consciousness disappears.

So how do I train for it? How do I achieve this?

  1. Overload your brain with all sorts of information. (This starts with you being very uncomfortable.)
  2. Stop thinking about the problem (release yourself from it).
  3. Deep low. Recovery. (unpleasant).

“Hacking flow” means learning how to manage that recovery. Hm… This post went in a different direction from where I thought it’d go…

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