What Just Happened?
A few years ago, I was in the process of applying for a job that I really wanted. It was a film position in a company that shared all my values and my interests. I was dead serious about this so I did my research. Now that I’m thinking about it, I did a crazy amount of research. I learned the company’s history, I remembered their mission, I looked up every video of them on youtube, I even knew the CEO’s birthday! I went all out! I knew everything about them and most importantly, I knew that there was no other option than for me to secure a job there! They just did not know this yet. But in order to do that, I knew I had to present myself better. Not just in the actual job interview, but since it was an internet company, I needed to have an online presence as well. I had a Vimeo account and a LinkedIn profile to show my projects and resume but that just seemed too basic. Every filmmaker has those nowadays so how was I supposed to stand out? I needed to go big on this one!
So in order to present myself to the maximum and stand a chance for this position I needed to have a website. A personal website that showcases me. A website that show’s my education, my work history, my interests, and my inspirations. It needed to show the real Tony!
Now there was only one problem. I had no idea how to create a website. In fact, I had no clue how I wanted my website to look like.
But I knew 2 things.
- I needed a website
- I had no money hire a guy to make it for me.
It was as simple as that. Nobody in my area knew about creating web pages so I tried my hand at it myself. I needed to learn how to get a domain name (Actually, my first step was figuring out what the hell a ‘domain name’ was), how to design my website and how to launch it. I really had no idea on where to begin so I did what anybody in my position would have done. I googled:
‘How do I create a website’
To make a long story short, within 2 weeks I had a fully running website that showed everything that I wanted it to show. It was the perfect online representation of myself and it helps me land the job that I wanted.
Now, a year later I looked back at my website and I thought about the whole process of creating it and I thought to myself, “How the hell did I manage to create a website that looks this good in two weeks!”
This was an interesting experience for me and I noticed that this had happened more times in my life. It happened when I created my first music video, when I worked on my first freelance job and when I felt like writing an article like this. I created something for the first time not knowing where to start or how to create it, but I just knew that there was no other outcome than getting it done.
World-renowned psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls this, “the flow state”.
It’s a state of being in which nothing seems impossible and you just know that what you want is going to happen, no matter how big or small your vision is. It will happen.
Once you reach this state of being, a few things will happen.
- You will lose track of time. (Is it 02:00 PM already????)
- Everything feels clear.
(You know what is doable and what needs to be done. You will immediately do the research and put in the effort to make it happen.
“If you want something, go get it. Period”
— Will Smith
- Everything outside your goal is not important anymore.
(Did you had a bad discussion with your girlfriend minutes before? Fuck that, at this point, it’s not on your mind.)
- You are full of adrenaline.
(You are pumped to put in the work!)
Now I’m sure all of us have experienced this state of being before, whether it was playing a football game, playing in a band before a large crowd or working on a passion project.
The problem is, achieving this ‘flow’ state, can not be done with a snap of your fingers. I wish it were that easy…
Looking back at the points I wrote above you can make up the following things that help you reach this mind state. TIME DOES NOT MATTER.
- Find a challenge:
You need something that sparks your interested. Something that you actually want to do. You have to find something that balances between the level of challenge and the level of skill. If it’s too challenging, it will lead to anxiety. If it’s too easy, it will lead to boredom. Find the balance.
- Set a goal:
A goal will give you a time constraint. This will not put any stress on you but it will prevent you from taking unnecessary breaks. It will give you a clear understanding of where you are now, and where you want to be when you are done. My goal right now is to finish this article in 3o minutes so I can go to my work after that.
- Get rid of distractions:
To be fully focused and in your zone, it is best to be in a place that motivates you and that will keep you from slacking off. For instance, it is not wise to enter the flow state and work on something in the middle of a family party. It will be easier for you to zone yourself out in a nice little coffee place.
- Be in a neutral mental state:
Although it is possible to enter the flow state when you are angry or sad, it is a lot harder. Imagine being pumped going to the gym and wanting to focus on nothing more than to release all your energy on the weights, but then you get a call that your sister had an accident. Boom, there goes your flow state. Now as I said it is still possible to enter this state but you need something to distract you first or push right through the bad emotions. Become neutral again.
It is my opinion that these four elements will help you gain access to your flow state. Entering this state is one of the best feelings you can achieve in your life and your productivity level will go through the roof! So find a challenge, set a goal, get rid of distractions and be in a neutral mental state of being. Once you have done this, no challenge is to big. You will get everything done that you put your mind into.
Getting in this Mindstate is the most certain way to living a life of purpose.