Shaping Your Future Weekly Memo:
The High and Fine Art of “The Flow”
July 22, 2016
Shaping Your Future is a free weekly memo that provides readers with practical and applicable tips for uncovering their future success. Readers are challenged to re-imagine their personal and professional narratives, goals, and objectives, and re-invent their lives and work in a manner consistent with their new vision of the future.
Having been blessed with Attention Deficit Disorder, I’ve found that in life I don’t operate exactly like everyone else. I’m not inclined to sit and stare at a computer screen all day, like my wife during grad school finals. In life, that kind of “diligence” is often admired and respected, but I have always felt borderline physically incapable of emulating this behavior and any attempt to do so would bear very little fruit. I’ve had to develop a different method, a different way of achieving results, one that flows more with the natural rhythm of how my brain works.
I would argue that most people’s talents are somewhat stifled by the traditional classroom or office setting. We are all, to varying degrees, square pegs trying to fit in round holes. Most people would benefit from being able to work within their own flow. Unfortunately, workplaces tend to focus on the seemingly high percentage of on-the-job time “wasted” on social media sites and sports updates, etc., and how much these lost hours are costing the company. This focus places greater emphasis on how employees are working (and spending down time) than what employees are actually able to achieve when they work within their own natural flow.
Most teachers and employers unfortunately don’t encourage students and workers to learn how their brain works and adapt their behavior accordingly. The early part of my working career was a study in how to organize and adapt my work behavior to achieve the results I wanted to see. For instance, I found that I work best with a high degree of self-imposed organization and a low degree of oversight. This method kept me on target, without forcing me to work when I felt like I was hitting a brick wall. However, the hardest part of this self-guided journey to finding my flow was convincing others of the legitimacy of my methods. I’ve seen signs that this workplace/classroom bias is beginning to shift, and I hope so for the sake of my own kids. We can’t all be expected to think and work the same way, using the same methods. We have computers for that now. Instead, we’ve got to learn to work within our own flow and find our own creative methods for achieving our best results.
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