- How to have more purpose, how to have more meaning, and how to spend more time in your state of flow.
- I truly believe that every single person has the ability, can find something, an occupation they can do most of their life that puts them in a state of flow and that allows you to live that way, to live in a way where what you do is so interesting, creates so much passion, so much desire to move forward, that it trumps everything else.
- When you want to live a life of flow, and you want to do something that you love but that also works as an occupation, medium or long term, the way that it begins is not with passion but with interest.
- You will see, it could be great musicians, artists, it doesn’t matter, but you will see that basically they went through the cycle of being interested in something, practicing it until they become good, then using their skills in useful contribution to others.
- Watch the video to get the full training.
- This is a MUST WATCH episode about how to 10X YOUR LIFE and don’t compare yourself to others
Hi, there, and welcome to this short video. I’m Alex Goad, best selling author, coach, and small business specialist. Today, we’re going to talk about perhaps the master switch of life, which is “How to have more purpose, how to have more meaning, and how to spend more time in your state of flow.”
First of all, let’s talk about this idea of flow. This is a concept that was brought up by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and, essentially, here’s what it refers to. Many people have different opinions about this, but here’s the big picture. It’s when you’re engaged in doing something that’s so engrossing, so interesting to you, that you almost lose track of time, lose track of what’s going on around you, lose track of stress, anxiety, and all of that good stuff, and you’re just in the flow, and it feels fantastic.
I truly believe that every single person has the ability, can find something, an occupation they can do most of their life that puts them in a state of flow and that allows you to live that way, to live in a way where what you do is so interesting, creates so much passion, so much desire to move forward, that it trumps everything else. If you’ve watched my previous videos in this series, you’ve seen that people with more purpose and more meaning in their lives and more flow have higher incomes, have better health, live longer, and so on, and so on.
Let’s talk right now about how to find your flow. The number one mistake that people make when they’re trying to do this is that they associate it to something that is part of the board here somewhere, but it’s not the start, and it’s not the beginning. Here’s the number one mistake. The number one mistake is to lead with passion. Here’s what this looks like. And, this sounds good. We’ve all experienced moments in our lives where we felt really, really interested in something. But, is that passion, or is that a passion that can be used as an occupation? Well, let’s find out.
The idea definitely sounds good. It’s very attractive, and that’s why so many people go for it, and so many people sell this idea. They have these huge coaching programs that say, “You’ve got to follow your passion. You’ve got to do what you love.” And the problem that a lot of people experience is that they think, “I don’t have a passion,” or, “There is nothing that I do as work that I love.” And, then, they kind of get stumped there. Or, and this may be even worse, and this is what I did. I’m going to tell you a little story here, is you do have a passion or you have something that you feel very strongly about that really interests you, and then you decide to try to make a career, a job, or a business out of it, and it ends up rather poorly.
Here’s my little story. A couple years ago, I’m living the internet marketing dream lifestyle. It’s fantastic. I’m making good money from home, low work hours. I decide, “You know what? It’s time to do it. It’s time to move to the beach.” So, I moved to a small town on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, tiny little thing. And right there, we’re living right on the bay. I got this great apartment overlooking the water. I love fishing, and I haven’t done it for a long time, but I go down to the beach one day with my little rod and reel, and I start pitching. And, all of a sudden, I meet some other fishermen and we start catching some fish, and it engulfs me. I’m like, “Whoa.” It’s like I’ve reconnected with something from my past that I lost but now comes rushing back in, and it feels fantastic. I’m having the time of my life.
And, so, I order more stuff. I do it more. I drive to more remote locations. I catch bigger fish. I’m still having the time of my life. And, so, I tell myself, “You know what? Time to get a boat.” So, I get a boat, small boat. 21-foot, center console. Drive around, catch some more fish, have even more fun, and it just keeps going and going. Next thing I know, I want a bigger boat. Now, I’m talking like serious yacht here with 600, 700, horsepower diesel engines.
When you buy a small boat, you get 10-footitis. There’s, actually, a term that they’ve invented for the person who owns a boat and always wants a bigger one. And it tends to happen to everybody. Long story short, I get another boat and open a sport fishing company, thinking, “You know what? I love fishing. I want to get these boats. Let’s mix pleasure and business together. I’m going to have this business. I’m going to be really passionate about it.”
Well, let me tell you, it did not go very well. I create the business and, all of a sudden, now I’ve got to fill in all this paperwork, all of these permits. I’ve got to do a bunch of maintenance. I’ve got to get the staff trained to a level where they weren’t trained before, because I’m doing most of the work myself, and I’m just having fun. Now, it’s not so much about fun anymore. Other things have entered into the equation.
What else? Well, there start to be risks. Now I have to do marketing which I love doing and I’m good at, but I have to take my marketing materials and I have to distribute them to different tour shops, and I have to convince people that are not interested to listen to me. And, then, I have to take clients, that are more interested in getting drunk than in catching fish, out on the ocean. When people who drink a lot go out on deep sea fishing tours, just think a little bit about what might happen, and you’ll get a good idea of what things looked like.
So, I go on three trips with clients, and I realize that I hate it. I hate it. I can’t stand it. It’s like ruining my life. So, I eventually get out of that, and I keep my leisure passion and my business separate. That cost me a lot of money, a lot of stress, a lot of irritation, and that’s often what happens when people try to follow their “passion.” So, don’t do it. Don’t start there. Don’t fall prey to that kind of idea that whatever you’re passionate about now, go make a business out of it or go make a life out of it. It probably won’t work, probably won’t lead you to where you want to go. We’ll come back full circle to this in a little bit.
If leading with passion, if following your “passion” or what you love on a day to day basis as a leisure or as a hobby is not the way to do it, what’s the right way? Well, here’s the right way. In order to make this little segment here, I have done a tremendous amount of reading and research, and I’m going to be quoting different people. I’m going to be using different pieces of their work, notably Angela Duckworth who wrote a great book called, “Grit.” There’s also “The Talent Code” by Daniel Coyle. There’s “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” by Cal Newport. It’s all this stuff that revolves around having and acquiring a lot of skill and doing something with it that gives you a sense of purpose, a sense of fulfillment, a sense of meaning and contribution to the world.
Please, if I don’t attribute something directly to somebody, it’s not because I’m trying to steal their work. It’s just because I’ve forgotten all of the references from all of the work and research that I’ve done.
Number one, and this is largely from Angela Duckworth’s model. Number one is “interest.” When you want to live a life of flow, and you want to do something that you love but that also works as an occupation, medium or long term, the way that it begins is not with passion but with interest. Interest is kind of like, you’re growing up, you’re young, and you stumble across things, and some things leave you rather indifferent, but other things captivate your interest. As you encounter those things that bring up your interest over and over again, and you encounter them in different places and different scenarios in different flavors, your interest deepens, which brings you to stage two of the process.
So, stage two is practice. Or, I prefer to call it “acquisition of skill.” It starts out that you’re interested in something, and it stimulates you. You move towards it. As you do that, you start to get clues as to how that works, how do you create results, how do you get more of the things that interest you, which leads you to apply and practice. And those things lead you to have skill or ability. So, you’re interested in something, and you’re starting to get good at least at some of the skills that allow you to kind of create results in this sphere or to be, not just an observer, but an actual player on the field, which brings you to the next level, which is contribution, or what I also call “purpose.”
What’s contribution or purpose? It’s when you get a level of skill that’s related to your interest, and you start to be able to share it with the world in one way or another. Maybe you’re creating art, and you create a piece of art. Maybe you’re a kid. You’re an eight-year-old kid. You create a piece of art, draw something on the kitchen table, and your parents are “Wow’d” by it, and they put it up on the frig. And, then, they start showing it to people. Right there, that’s contribution and purpose, because other people are appreciating the fruits of your labor.
As adults, there’s so many different ways that we can contribute. Whatever is beautiful, whatever is good, and whatever is true generally leads you in the direction that people are going to be interested, they’re going to be impressed, you’re going to create value for them. And the act of creating value for people, no matter what value you’re creating as long as it’s ethical, that’s contribution, and that’s what gives purpose to the whole thing.
To be in a state of flow and to have an occupation that you love, first you have to work on discovering your interests. Then you have to develop your skills through practice. And, then, you have to put those skills at the service of others, useful service to others, and all of a sudden, now you’ve kind of booked the virtuous circle here.
The last necessary factor for all of this to happen is hope, belief, or resilience. Here’s what it comes down to, is that doing this is not necessarily going to be easy. There’s a reason why most people do it. It can be hard, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing and you’re just kind of flailing about. You can make so many mistakes, have so many failures that you feel, you start to believe, that you can’t do this. This is not accessible to you, whatever it is that you’ve got. Now is pretty much how the rest of your life is going to be. Or, you can believe that it can happen, that you can change, that circumstances can change, that your skills can get up to that level, that you will be a contributor, or at the very least, you have the hope that such things are possible. If you have hope and you have belief, and you keep trying, and whenever you fail you get up so you show resilience, eventually this starts to work for you, and it accelerates as a virtuous cycle. And that’s when you become virtually unstoppable. You become unstoppable because, all of a sudden, now you truly are invested with passion. But it doesn’t belong up here. It belongs down here.
Look at any great performer in this world. It could be in acting. It could be on the political scene. It could be in terms of altruism. You will see, it could be great musicians, artists, it doesn’t matter, but you will see that basically they went through the cycle of being interested in something, practicing it until they become good, then using their skills in useful contribution to others. And this creates, as an end result, a passion that makes you come back to it again and again and again, that makes you want to deepen the results that you’re getting, that makes you want to increase the contribution, increase your skills. All that makes you even more interested. And this is a virtuous cycle that will take you into old age and beyond with a big smile on your face, a sense of fulfillment, a sense of purpose, and a sense of a life well lived.
In the next video, I’m going to talk about “How do you cultivate these different things here so that you can ultimately reach this goal which is to have an occupation in life that puts you in a state of flow, in a state of contribution, in a state of purpose?”
Thank you for watching. I’m Alex Goad, reminding you that “The way you live today is a template for how you’re going to live the rest of your life, so make it count.”
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