Source: Online Photobank

It turns out that once you’re above the poverty line, it does not matter how much your income level increases, your degree of happiness remain unaffected. So, how can one ensure happiness regardless of income increase?

According to Mihaly Csilkszentmihalyi, dubbed the father of Flow, “Flow is a state of mind.” explained in his TedTalk In essence, being in flow means being able to use your skills set to do challenging work for the work’s sake.

Have you ever wondered why some people are insanely infatuated by whatever ideas they are working on even if they make no buck at all? Although, I believe in economic incentives, I have come to embrace Steve Jobs’ advise, ‘do work you love.’

The idea of flow has been my fascination since I first experienced being in the state back in 2010 while rock climbing. I was with a group of friends some of whom had tried to climb up a 10 feet rock mount wall with zero success. I didn’t think of it much when I learned about the challenge except that I love challenges. Without much thought, I jumped to task and to my thrill I made it to the summit. I remember afterwards I felt like I can accomplish anything I put my mind to!

It was an ecstatic feeling that lingered many days after the event. More importantly, my best moments were when I was climbing upwards. I recall, singing, pep talking myself and charging myself to summon the courage and stamina to keep on climbing one rock at a time.

Why am I sharing this? Because happiness is being in flow, and many of us can agree that we all want to be happy. Wouldn’t you agree then that it is critical that we figure out how to position ourselves for flow? Many change agents and the successful before us know this. The likes of Steve Jobs persist and continue to persist in challenging work environments primarily for the work’s sake.

To be in flow therefore, the following 3 conditions are rudiment to achieve the state.

  1. Challenge on hand that is within reach: not too high or too low
  2. Skills that match the challenge on hand
  3. Plenty of time to focus on the challenge on hand intently

Today businesses, organizations, athletes and individuals alike are interested in achieving flow. It is great for happiness, innovation, creativity and productivity! Many Athletes have won their MVP titles by simply ‘being in flow’ or ‘being in zone’ as widely known.

In doing meaningful work you will likely face challenges every now and then. To reach your goals and remain happy through your quest, you will need to sustain your mental, body and spiritual vitality for the long haul. This will require you to learn how to cultivate your peak performance on a consistent basis. As Dr. Csikszentmihalyi notes, ‘being in flow state is the secret to happiness.’ This varies from person to person, and figuring out your unique path is critical to living the life of joy, creativity and productivity—the life you love.

When did you last experience flow in your life? What was the task you were absorbed in, and how did that impact your life?