You know the saying, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
But how do you do that? How do you find that amazing work that makes you come alive?
You create it. Right under your feet. You can make your work more meaningful and you can find your flow, wherever you go, whatever you do.
In the book, Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace), Chade-Meng Tan shares how to have more fun at work by finding your flow.
Make Your Work Something You Would Do for Fun
You can use the work you already do as a chance to challenge yourself to learn, grow, become all that you’re capable of, and have fun in the process.
“Alignment means aligning our work with our values and higher purpose.
Half jokingly, I think of alignment as finding a way to never have to work again for the rest of your life and still get paid.
The secret is to create a situation in which your work is something you do for fun, so you are doing it for your own entertainment anyway and somebody just happens to pay you for it (and since you are nice to them, you do not want to say no to their money.) I know of many successful and highly productive people in this situation.”
Anyone Can Find a Way to Have More Fun
It doesn’t matter how old you are, what profession you are in, or what level you are.
“Warren Buffett is a famous example, still working … or … having fun at work in his eighties. Norman Fischer once told me he has never worked a single day in his life, even though he is one of the most sought-after Zen teachers in the country and is busier than most Silicon Valley professionals I know.
Closer to home, most of the best engineers I have worked with write code as a hobby, so they really just come to the office to hobby away and get paid.”
Meaningful Work + Finding Your Flow
If you want to start having fun for a living, you need to make the work meaningful to you, and you need to turn daily tasks and routines into opportunities to find your flow.
“Work of this has at least one of these two qualities, very often both:
- The work is deeply meaningful to you.
- It generates a state of flow in you.”
Flow is a State of Peak Performance
Flow is when you are fully engaged, all of you, in what you are doing in the moment. Time melts away, and your attention is focused on the task at hand.
“Flow is so important, it is worth mentioning in some detail. Daniel Goleman calls it ‘the ultimate motivator.’
Flow is s state of peak performance, discovered by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who spent more than two decades studying it in individuals.
Csikszentmihalyl describes it as ‘being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.’ “
Flow is Available to Everyone
It doesn’t matter what you do, there are opportunities to create more flow. Instead of doing a task to get it done, try performing your task in a way that applies your skills and pushes the envelope in terms of how you do it better, faster, easier, or deeper.
“Athletes know this state as being in the zone. Flow has been reported widely in a diverse number of fields, such as climbing rocks, performing brain surgery, filing papers, and even in sitting meditation (in fact, one way to think of flow is Zen in action.)”
Flow is a State of Focused Attention
When you focus your attention on right here, right now, and the task at hand, you improve your ability to generate flow.
You can almost hear Mr. Miyagi say, “Focus, Daniel-san!”
“Flow occurs when the task at hand matches the skill level of the practitioner, such that it is difficult enough to provide a challenge but not so difficult that it overwhelms the practitioner.
If the task is too easy relative to the skill level, the practitioner will be bored or apathetic. In contrast, if it is too difficult, the practitioner becomes anxious or worried. Flow occurs when difficulty is just right.
Flow is a state of focused attention, so people skillful in focusing their attention, such as meditators or martial arts experts, are more likely to find themselves in flow.”
If you’re worried whether the happiness you create is the real deal, check out Synthetic Happiness.
If you’re struggling with how to change the work you already do every day into something more meaningful, then check out Change Your Why or Change Your How.
My the flow be with you.