Most of us are able to find flow and true enjoyment in at least one aspect of our lives, but what about the others? Many of us are only truly happy while doing the one thing we are passionate about, and revert to an unpleasant, unfriendly, or awkward version of ourselves in the rest of our activities. Where did all that grace and fluidity go?
This is where it is important to recognize that having achieved flow in one activity does not guarantee that it will carry over to the rest of your life. “If we enjoyed work and friendships and faced every challenge as an opportunity to develop new skills, we would be getting rewards out of living that are outside the realm of ordinary life. Yet even this would not be enough to assure us of optimal experience. As long as enjoyment follows piecemeal from activities not linked to one another in a meaningful way, one is still vulnerable to the vagaries of chaos. Even the most successful career, the most rewarding family relationship eventually runs dry. Sooner or later involvement in work must be reduced. Spouses die, children grow up and move away. To approach optimal experience as closely as is humanly possible, a last step in the control of consciousness is necessary.
What this involves is turning all life into a unified flow experience. If a person sets out to achieve a difficult enough goal, from which all other goals logically follow, and if he or she invests all energy in developing skills to reach that goal, then actions and feelings will be in harmony and the separate parts of life will fit together--and each activity will “make sense” in the present, as well as in view of the past and of the future. In such a way, it is possible to give meaning to one’s entire life.” (214-215)
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