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An artist was once asked in an interview, "when did you start drawing?" He responded: "That's not really the right question, the real question is, when did you stop drawing?" We all drew pictures as children and expressed ourselves creatively in one way or another. At some point however, many of us stopped. But why?
This sketch is a great analogy to our ability to access flow. Believe it or not, kids are in a small state of flow when they are drawing. They are in the moment, immersed in the task at hand, completely uninhibited and fully expressive of who they are at that particular moment. So when asked, "when did you start accessing flow?" , the real question is, "when did you stop?"
As we grow up and are influenced and shaped by our differing life stories, there is often a common thread. Many people loose the ability to let go and just be in the moment in flow. What causes this? Underlying most of the obvious answers are a series of mental constructs that end up acting as barriers to flow.
The same reasons that caused you to stop drawing are quite possibly the same barriers stopping you from accessing flow. Perhaps at some point you thought you weren t good at it. Something or someone projected that being good at something is important. Perhaps it became evident that you could not make a living off drawing. The reasons for your enjoyment might have become tied up in a multitude of factors other than the enjoyment itself. It is different for everyone, but at some stage we create a mental construct (belief/value/mindset) that prevents us from playing for the sake of playing we tell ourselves to get on with the real world .
When we were drawing as kids we were not seeking outcomes, results, or comparing ourselves to others, We were not seeking validation, trying to impress, trying to be good, labelling the action, or assigning value to our work. We drew or played for the sake of playing because we enjoyed the process. This enjoyment of the process and outcome independence is vital in flow.