Adding Clarity to your Purpose with Mindset and Flow
Today’s blog looks at 2 important topics when clarifying our purpose and that is mindset and the hints we can get from our flow experiences in life. Let’s start today’s teachings with one of my favourite stories illustrating mindset – you may have heard it before.
There was once a chicken farmer who found an eagle egg in his walk around his farm. He could not find any eagles around to care for the egg and so he took the egg and put it among his chickens. Along with the chicken eggs, the eagle egg also hatched. The eagle lived among the chickens and ate what the chickens ate and did what the chickens did. He learned to fly short distances as the chickens did. One day he looked up in the sky and saw these huge birds. He asked the chickens who they were. The chickens told him that they were the King of the skies. They are eagles and we are chickens they told the eagle. We are chickens – we are earth birds – we only fly short distances from the ground. The eagle continued to believe he was a chicken and did what the chickens did for his whole life. He lived and died a chicken. Because of the messages he received and the life that was modelled for him he never knew or tried to soar in his life.
As you know, mindset is important in all that we do. When you are wanting change, one of the things that is needed is to find out if you are really willing to find your purpose and pursue it and all that will mean to your life currently. We just might be in the habit of complaining about our current status but not really wanting or willing to make a change. Once you have established your willingness or even eagerness for the adventure in changing, look for hidden clues that might hold a positive mindset back. When you think about a possible dream or vision in your life, what are the messages that pop up that you have received over your lifetime that may not serve you well in making a change today. Start with your childhood. What was modelled for you around what your family’s capabilities are- messages such as this is what we do, this is who we are, this is our lot in life, this is how much money we make etc. Look at your family of origins beliefs about life and destinies. What are the histories of your family of origin? You might be surprised by the stories you recollect that give you messages about you -How did these histories and stories give you messages about your destiny? Were there limits on you based on your childhood grades or skills? What about your first job? Or subsequent jobs? What limits did those put on you? What is the story of you that has been created within you? Enjoy doing this in your journal as part of getting to know your purpose and what has defined you.
The Second part of our thoughts for today is to look at something called flow. When I was in university this phenomena that you will likely recognize in yourself was first researched. The book, “the Flow” written by a Hungarian psychologist that has an impossible name for me and many to pronounce. I will spell his name for you – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. If you just want to google it for more information just google flow experiences and it will turn up. The experience of flow is like this. It is a place of deep focus in the present where time ceases to exist and where hours can go by without your noticing. You lose your awareness of self. There is an intrinsic motivation for your actions – it is not based on other’s expectations. You expect good in the experience. Surgeons will often have an 8 hour operation with no breaks, of course, and come out of it not having noticed time but feeling as if it was just a short time he or she was operating. You may not relate to that but you may relate to my friend, who loves to look for agates on the beach. She will set out just with her pockets to fill and spend hours picking up and discarding rocks, walking in the sun focussing on the rocks and sand, not noticing hours of time as it passes and enjoying the experience immensely. For me, I can be doing a stitchery project and hours will pass and I don’t notice it. Or I am counselling a couple and I am in this flow experience, intensely focussing where I am not aware of myself nor do I notice any passing of time. It is a wonderful feeling.
A flow experience has a number of things in common. As I mentioned there is an intense focus. There is no inner critic there. There is an intense focus that is motivated by you but there is not an awareness of self. There is an expectation of reward in the experience, There is a balance between your skill and the amount of challenge. If there is too little skill – we flounder and focus on self and the experience of flow goes away. If there is too little challenge we become bored and the sense of flow goes away. We need flow experiences in our lives regularly. They are exhilarating! A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that flow is highly correlated with happiness, both subjective as well as psychological well-being. It has also been found that people who experience a lot of flow in their daily lives also develop other positive traits, such as high concentration, high self-esteem, and even greater health. Of course you will recognize that as you are living your purposes, these also apply.
So take a minute or 2 and think about your flow experiences. They have something to say about your purpose. For instance, what could my friend notice about her purpose in her flow experience? She would notice that she likes to pick out details in things. She is fascinated by patterns. She loves nature and the outdoors. She loves colours. She loves alone time and much more. She has much to learn about her life purpose in her flow experiences as do you and I.
Break out your journal and journal the following:
1. Notice your willingness to be all in – in whatever endeavour comes to mind. This is your level of willingness to focus in the present, particularly in certain times in your life.
2. Notice your expectations around finding your purpose or being rewarded by doing what you love in your daily life. I hear many people so dissatisfied with their work and lives that they are repeating an expectation of gloom. Where do you expect to be happy?
3. Notice your ability to put aside any inner critic – you won’t be able to grow into your purpose if the inner critic is there. Are there times your inner critic disappears?
4. Notice your ability to bounce back as you explore new things to refine your purpose. As you explore, you are looking for a match for yourself – negative experiences only mean it is not a good match – Yahoo for that learning.
5. When you examine your flow experiences, what do you learn from them about your purpose in life?
See more on Instagram TV on Friday at 9:00am. Go forth and be Wonderful!