The Secret To Finding Joy And Fulfilment

Finding joy in our lives can bring great satisfaction and fulfilment.

The key is to find the right balance between our skills and the challenges that we face.

For example, when we have no challenge and no skills are required, we can eventually become bored. Think of sitting on the couch watching a movie – while it might be relaxing and pleasurable to begin with, if we did this for extended periods, it could become boring.

At the other end of the spectrum, if we face a big challenge and don’t have the right skills to meet the challenge, we can feel some anxiety or frustration. Neither boredom nor anxiety are positive experiences, according to the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who developed the concept of Flow.

The trick is to find the sweet spot where we can find a meaningful challenge to stretch our skills (to avoid boredom), or develop our skills to meet a challenge (to avoid anxiety). This helps us find a state of “flow” which is enjoyable and leads to growth.

Think back to the times when you have been so completely immersed in something that you have lost all track of time – where you have felt fully effective and engaged in what you were doing. Maybe it was being completely absorbed in a meaningful conversation, or immersed in a good book or jigsaw puzzle, or play sport or cooking a meal with a new recipe. Finding Flow leads to growth and fulfilment and can benefit us by bringing meaning and motivation.

How can you find flow? If you are doing something boring or meaningless, consider how you could make it more complex and challenge yourself. And if you find yourself with a challenge that is beyond your capability which is leading to anxiety or frustration, consider how you could increase your skills or knowledge to manage the challenge better.

Find the “sweet spot” where you have a good balance between your skills and your challenges – not too easy and not too hard – and enjoy the wonderful feelings and benefits of Flow that can help fill your life with meaning and inspiration.

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Carley Nicholson
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