Find Your Flow: How Childhood Passions Reveal Your Calling

Bring Your A-Game

4 Minute Read | Performance

At Bring Your A-Game, one quote drives and focuses us. Calling it our calling card, and the quote is by Carl Jung. ”what did you do as a child that made the hours pass like minutes? Herein lies the clues to your earthly pursuits.”

This quote highlights the importance of flow states in childhood for revealing our innate talents and deepest passions. When we become absorbed in an activity as children, to the point where time seems to stand still, it indicates we have entered a state of flow. This total immersion occurs when there is a perfect match between the task challenge and our skills. The activity provides just enough challenge to stretch our abilities without overwhelming us. When this happens, we lose self-consciousness and fall into an energised focus. Hours pass by in minutes.

According to Jung, these childhood activities that induce flow are clues to our true callings. The passions we discover in childhood reflect core parts of our temperament and identity that will be fundamental throughout our lives. We can uncover our natural gifts and interests by tuning into the activities that sparked flow states in our early years. Pursuing these passions provides fulfilment and allows us to lead deeply engaged lives.

Defining Flow

Flow refers to a state of complete absorption and engagement in an activity. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi first defined flow after studying artists, athletes, chess players and others who described feelings of energised focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in their work. He identified the following characteristics of the flow state:

·      Focused concentration on a task

·      Action and awareness merge

·      Loss of self-consciousness

·      Sense of control over actions

·      Altered sense of time

The flow state is marked by complete absorption, focus, and enjoyment. When in flow, people find their skills well-matched to a challenge, creating a satisfying, engaging experience.

Benefits of Flow

Experiencing flow provides numerous benefits that can improve our lives in many ways. By fully immersing ourselves in activities that captivate our attention, we tap into a state of optimal performance and creativity.

·      Improved Performance and Productivity

·      Increased Motivation and Creativity

·      Reduced Stress and Anxiety

·      Greater Fulfillment and Happiness

Due to the pleasurable absorption in flow activities and reduced negative thoughts, we experience greater happiness and life satisfaction. We feel more fulfilled and purposeful by spending time on endeavours that captivate our best selves. Losing self-consciousness helps us feel freedom and authenticity. Overall, flow activities provide deep enjoyment and meaning to our lives.

Childhood Activities and Flow

Children often enter a state of flow during unstructured playtime. They become entirely absorbed in make-believe games, building projects, or practising sports and hobbies. Children can fully immerse themselves in intrinsically motivating and enjoyable activities with fewer responsibilities and less self-consciousness. Curiosity rather than external rewards drive them.

During childhood, we are more willing to repeatedly practice skills that interest us, whether learning to ride a bike, play an instrument, or master a video game. We take on challenges with persistence, resilience, and determination. While the activity is the reward, we take pride in achieving milestones and levelling our abilities. Mastering new skills and accomplishing goals brings a profoundly satisfying feeling of flow.

Unstructured play time allows children to tap into their passions, talents, and purpose. Paying attention to the activities that bring us joy, motivation, and hours of engagement can provide clues to the work and pursuits that will be most meaningful and fulfilling in our lives.

Finding Flow as Adults

As we age, entering flow states can be more difficult. Our responsibilities mount, we take on more obligations, and it’s easy to lose touch with the childhood activities that once absorbed us entirely. However, by being intentional, we can find flow as adults.

·      Schedule unstructured time for challenging activities.

·      Set clear goals to enter the flow state.

·      Reduce distractions and interruptions.

Flow is attainable at any age with concerted effort. Reflect on your childhood joy and channel that absorption into current pursuits. Pursue challenges, set goals, minimise distractions, and experience the timeless bliss of flow.

Optimising Work for Flow

Flow can be challenging to find in many modern workplaces. Yet there are ways we can optimise our work to promote flow:

·      Autonomy over tasks

·      Clear goals

·      Immediate feedback

·      Balance of challenge and skills

By promoting these elements, we can transform even mundane tasks into engaging flow activities. Small changes can significantly affect how absorbed and motivated you feel throughout the workday. Flow turns work from a chore into an intrinsically rewarding experience.

Finding flow in childhood activities provides hints at our innate passions and talents. As Carl Jung wisely observed, reflecting on those times when hours felt like minutes reveals the clues to our life’s purpose and most meaningful pursuits.

By remembering the activities from our younger days that utterly captivated our attention, we gain insight into the vocations and pastimes that align with our true callings. Following these childhood passions into adulthood opens the door to experiencing deep engagement and fulfilment again.

Seeking flow through work, relationships, hobbies, and all aspects of life is the key to feeling challenged, motivated, and fully alive. Though responsibilities and routines can sometimes distract us, making a conscious effort to incorporate more activities that cultivate flow leads to greater joy and satisfaction.

If we listen to the wisdom of our childhood selves and make choices that recapture the spirit of those magical, timeless moments, we will find ourselves on the path to lead enriching lives. By developing a flow mindset, we can transform mundane hours into experiences of total absorption and contentment.

"A-Game know how to get a team to see and believe in a common vision."

Liberty Group