Flow is an essential principle in successful, joyful living. It lies at the heart of the experience that is life. When we flow, we become effortless because everything we do comes easy; no force is involved.
I would like to compare being in flow to driving a car. Some of you might recognize the sign of an experienced driver- they don’t accelerate hard and they don’t brake hard. In fact, a really good driver will mostly use the accelerator to control speed. This very fluid way of driving is equal to the flow we can achieve in our life by making decisions that flow out of us and that are in alignment with who we are. By flowing like a good driver, we use the gas and brake pedals less, the ride becomes less jerky and more comfortable, and because we minimize wear and tear, we get farther without needing roadside assistance.
A good driver also chooses her/his roads more carefully, always preferring new roads to the packed old paths.
Let’s take this into our work life. Most of our work experiences are constant stop-and-gos at rush hour. Because we are competitive hustlers, we find ourselves at the wheel of a race car in horrific competitive traffic. We flex our muscles as we rev the engine boastfully, desperate to find success and leave the pack behind, we hit the accelerator and leap forward 2 car lengths before we have to slam the brakes again because someone else is in the way. We engage in dangerous and tedious lane changes that don’t get us very far.
Our accelerator is the eagerness to move forward, all the concepts, methods and programs that are supposed to take us forward, and in our engine runs the fuel of our greed and fear of failure. What a dangerous mix to take on the road. Would you want to be in that car?
The rush hour traffic is the competitive market that we choose to navigate in. There is no room for us to maneuver, since everybody wants to do the same thing at the same time in the exact same way (pretty much like traffic on Fridays at 5pm). It’s a suffocating reality we create for ourselves. To be pulled back and forth between acceleration and total standstill. If we are dizzy from our work experiences, it’s because of the constant whiplash we give ourselves. Our necks are screwed. It’s hard to contain this extremely charged situation. Every once in a while, someone snaps and rams into the car ahead of them to push through. In a hustling world, where fear of failure is real, some people will roll over bodies to get ahead. Is this the kind of traffic we want to engage in? Note: you know right away if you’re in that kind of environment.
Now, look at the people in flow: they glide through wide curves on the open road, one foot gently working the accelerator, wind in their hair, pushing through life at a constant and efficient speed, with the smile of success on their faces. They are open to taking new turns and changing their route because the ride is effortless. They don’t react to their surroundings, they merely respond to it in a flowing manner. It’s time for us to become better drivers and start enjoying the ride.