Luckily you don’t have to be an extreme athlete to reach flow. Though most slackers find movement, play, and facing your fears to be excellent sources of flow, there are many other paths to experiencing this optimal state of mind and all of its performance enhancing benefits. Once you learn how to take control of your consciousness and restructure any activity to reliably produce flow, you will be able to accomplish a healthier, happier, more fulfilling life.
Keep in mind, however, that there is no exact formula for happiness, and this book does not promise that. A joyful life is an individual creation that cannot be copied from a recipe. Optimal experiences depend on the individual ability to create and control what happens in consciousness moment by moment.
Instead of providing a list of do’s and don’ts, what follows are general principles you can use to transform boring and meaningless lives into ones full of enjoyment. This will be a voyage through the realms of the mind, chartered with the tools of science. What I can promise you, is that this won’t be easy and it will take time. You’re going to have to put in the work, and there are no shortcuts you can take to speed up the process. Many forces within yourself and within the environment will stand in your way. “It is a little like trying to lose weight: everyone knows what it takes, everyone wants to do it, yet it is next to impossible for so many. The stakes here are higher, however. It is not just a matter of losing a few extra pounds. It is a matter of losing the chance to have a life worth living.” (7)
If you feel discouraged, just remember that the rules are clear and within everyone’s reach, and all things that are worth a damn require hard work. For those of you who care about such things, this book should provide enough guidance to make possible the transition from theory to practice. Though without some mental effort and a commitment to reflect honestly on your own experiences, you will not gain much from what follows.
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