Life is Good when you Go with the Flow?
Life is good… very good perhaps, when we can enter into a flow state. This is that wonderful “non-action” that the Taoist always talk about – Making minimal effort and yet reaping huge rewards. Sounds cryptic and fantastical so, let’s check this out.
What is a Flow State?
“The Flow State” is what you witness when a master musician works their craft to a tee. Find any video of Prince (Rogers Nelson) doing a guitar solo (He completely rocked), and you can see that he isn’t all stressed out, and yet he is not half-asleep either. He’s just so very into what he’s doing that a whole new mental state arises. Call it “Flow” or “being in the zone” as athletes do, this state of brilliance is where time vanishes, boredom is non-existent and the work you do is excellent. Even more, life when in the flow state is not just good, but positively transcendent.
Life is Good When you Know how to do something
Strolling the streets in Barcelona, I came across an elderly lady who sat on the pavement selling drawings. I stopped to peruse her work and saw that she had a most original style; at first, her pictures looked like a mass of squiggles, but then the image would suddenly “pop” out and become visible. The work had an almost three-dimensional look to it. “Portrait?” She asks me. I tell her “OK” and sit down on her rickety chair she had reserved for reclining clients. Hardly taking a breath, her hands moved like magic as she seemed to scribble frantically on the page.
And then I had an attack of full-on stinginess.
After what must have been around ten minutes, she showed me the final work. Magnificent… and then she wanted fifty bucks for it. Fifty bucks. “It’s a drawing” I said, as the ghost of tight fistedness took a hold of me. I followed this up with “It only took you ten minutes, at most”. She nodded, and after some thought added, “Ten minutes… Yeah… fifty years… Well, fifty-four years if you count Art College… and ten minutes.” She was right. I coughed up the money and walked off with my portrait.
It’s tempting to look at people like Prince, The Barcelona Artist or any other super-talent, and assume that they have an innate talent that mere mortals could never match. Well, they might but they probably studied and worked… and much more than you did.
Life is Good when you Make the Right Sacrifices
So, we’ve established that both Prince and that wonderful lady in Barcelona could get into a flow state. If they can do it, then so can we all. It’s all about the sacrifices you are willing to make. These great artists and indeed, anyone who had attained greatness had to endure the pain and humiliation of being total beginners, the agonising crawl towards mediocrity, the slog to the peaks and the final leap into excellence.
Flow isn’t free
Brendan C. Clarke