This article is about being in the “flow” and experiencing ecstasy in your business on a regular basis.
And no. I do not mean the drug Ecstasy. I mean either the feeling of joy / delight OR the rapture or loss of oneself in what one loves to do or learns to love to do.
Notice being ecstatic does not mean that you have to be joyful all the time – it could mean that you are able to be lost in the work that you love.
I am blessed to have ecstasy in what I do daily. Most of my clients have this experience too – although some may deny this because they may not have thought of their life as an ecstatic one.
You may argue “Well… Sunil… you were lucky to have found something that you loved to do.” You may be right. But there were times in the past when I did not enjoy what I did, but was so lost in what I was doing that I did not notice.
How can you inculcate this ecstasy – develop this in your life, business and play?
The answer is a combination of four main ideas that I feel right about giving credit to:
- Maslow’s pyramid of human needs (‘A Theory of Human Motivation’ by Abraham Maslow)
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s ideas on Flow (‘Flow – The Psychology of Optimal Experience’).
- Zen Buddism and other disciplines – the concept of nothing and everything – meaning being created that in itself is meaningless.
- The idea of an invented life (too many sources to quote but the main ones would be Werner Erhard and Warren Bennis).
Don’t worry – you will not need to necessarily grasp that last 3rd point just yet.
1. Take care of physiological needs especially sleep
It is very difficult to operate, make decisions or come up with creative solutions (better solutions) when you lack sleep. Brain functions are severely hampered when you lack sleep.
I do my best to get a lot of sleep and take naps whenever I can. I set up my calendar with blank spaces and I set up my team to support me, so that I can do this even while running several complex projects and taking care of a relatively phenomenal number of great clients.
Sleep is the great fixer, the creative juice and the sweetest lubricant of ideas turning into reality and problems resolved with ease.
2. Invent Being and Feeling Safe
“Security is mostly a superstition. …… Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” – Helen Keller. Yet Ms. Keller would have been honest enough to say that once we ‘handle’ this security question (imagined or real), more possibilities do open up.
With our clients, I do the following in different combinations depending on the client’s personality and other factors.
a. I work with them to address directly the sources of lack of security e.g. if financial security is a concern, we look to see what specifically will reduce this stress and actively seek this security.
b. Distractions or ‘non-confronting’ the source of insecurity. Focus on the bigger picture or create a vision and plan for the future where that insecurity no longer exists.
c. Putting more oxygen on the future rather than on the present worries.
d. and more..
3. Show and Accept Love – Establish Brotherhood and Sisterhood
We are social animals and cannot help but respond strongly to loyalty. When I was in a traumatic situation during my younger army days, I was in a situation where kids my age stood up for me and took extreme pain and suffering on my behalf. I felt naturally compelled to do the same for them. That time is strangely reflected upon me as both ‘the best and the worst of times’. ‘Worst’ because of the mental and physical trauma and pains inflicted and ‘Best’ because I got to experience a sense of brotherhood that is rarely experienced in our urban lifestyles – rare is the situation where we take an unreasonable stand for someone else and yet we love these situations when we do – we rise to the occasion and something is gained even in the midst of the pain.
I am of course, not asking you to go through pain. I am inviting you to step up the willingness to stand for something bigger than only your own needs – not from a moral point of view but for the sake of your own self fulfillment.
This leads to a reduction in confusion and a firmer clarity in going for bigger goals and more expanded thinking.
One of the reasons I have trained in my daily ecstasy is that I take a stand for going over and beyond the call of duty for my wife, clients, family and friends – that willingness to do so is a ‘doubt clarifier’.
Most people who live on the basis of survival only have to continually weigh decisions in their head. This basing of decisions solely on logical survival and cost benefit analysis can lead to paralysis and a lack of flow.
4. Invent and Build Self Esteem as a Choice
You could say that building self esteem is a necessity. However, this makes no difference to most people who suffer from a lack of it.
When you practice inventing and choosing for no reason except because you say so – you realize that the reasons for doing anything are not that meaningful unless you say they are.
The moment you get that you are the painter and the canvas – and that both the painter and canvas make you – then choice is given birth to and the natural outcome is to choose self esteem. It is easy that way.
5. Take none of the above too seriously but experiment and play with humor
The above points are invented – made up and over simplified.
Life is often much more complicated and each situation should be viewed differently. What I present is the clearest model of how I approach life daily – but I know it is a model and I do not wish it to be something that I treat as ‘the truth’ or dogma.
This approach allows for creative flexibility and humor with no significant drama about being right.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other” doesn’t make any sense.”
– Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi – 13th century poet and human being
I love hearing from you! What strategy will you implement to increase flow and ecstasy in your business and life?