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Creative Career Path

How Does Your Garden Flow?2012.07.17

    Gardens have a special magic, with their water features, flowers, and restful pathways, which has been celebrated in all cultures from ancient to modern. There is something about the energy of a garden that seems to symbolize all that is good in nature, and which brings out the best in human nature, and energy that might be called Flow.


    Flow is a concept in Positive Psychology which was introduced in 1990 by a now famous professor of Psychology, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in a seminal book called, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. The concept of Flow made intuitive sense to people to people in a wide variety of fields, from business people and scientists, to athletes, martial artists, and musicians. The idea of Flow was already familiar in experience, as being completely absorbed in a task, joyful and productive, in the zone, in the groove, on a roll. Flow Psychology simply made a study of something that in fact goes back thousands of years, to Heraclitus (c. 535 c. 475 BC) in Ancient Greece, and Lao Tzu (6th century BC) in Ancient China.


    Now it is back again big time, not only as a field of psychology, but also in the world of business, considered by many as an essential ingredient for motivation and productivity. It is often described as the optimal state between boredom and anxiety, the right balance of challenge and skill, which enables a person to stay absorbed and productive working on the task at hand. This is fair enough as a description, but far more challenging to achieve and maintain at work.


    People experience Flow in different ways, so it is helpful to look at different kinds of Flow, to recognize and better engage with Flow. How can we experience Flow at work, to increase our enjoyment of what we do for a living, and at the same time the contribution we make to our employer, our team, and to the people around us? Pay attention to these six types of Flow in your life.


    Mental Flow

    Mental energy and insights. A steady stream of ideas and inspiration. To make this available and useful to others, you need a stage, a platform, a means of publishing or broadcasting your ideas.


    Physical Flow

    Physical energy and finesse. The power to get things done and move with efficiency and grace. For others to benefit from this you need to interact with people, and make effective and elegant use of the tools of your trade.


    Task Flow

    The smooth flow of work processes and productive output of work. To gain maximum benefit from this, you need to fine tune the processes, as well as continually monitor and improve how it works.


    Communication Flow

    The smooth and harmonious exchange of ideas and support among people. Good teamwork depends on many things, including a shared sense of mission, positive attitude, and the desire to help rather than harm.


    Cash Flow

    Like it or not, to some extent money makes the world go around. Both individuals and organizations need a reasonable amount of cash flow to keep operating, and to improve to the next level. Cash should flow, and not be hoarded in the pockets and accounts of a small minority.


    Synchronicity Flow

    The state of grace in which things just go well, timing is excellent, and you feel extremely lucky. This need not be an accidental good fortune, nor the privilege of a lucky few. When all of the other types of Flow are in place, you naturally experience an abundance of Synchronicity.


    Both Heraclitus ("You never step into the same river twice"), and Lao Tzu ("The Way is like Water"), used Water as a primal metaphor for Flow. We too can learn the secrets of Flow from Water. Spend time in gardens and enjoy nature. Introduce fountains and other water features into your environment, and you will daily experience the magic of Flow.



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    Article Writer

    William Reed

    William Reed is a renowned author-speaker who coaches physical finesse and flexible focus for a creative career path. A certified Master Trainer in Guerrilla Marketing and 7th-dan in Aikido, he combines practical wisdom of East and West to help you learn personal branding at the Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.

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