I came across this interesting presentation by Vishen Lakhiani, CEO of Mind Valley (a hugely successful media publishing company that is involved in promoting self development programs and authors with new age media platforms). In this 40 minutes presentation two things stood out. One was the link between Happiness and Vision which I would like to expand upon in this post. Another was the 10 principles on which one can implement the concept of “Flow” in their organizations.
As I have mentioned in a previous post, Flow is a state in which people are happy and are fully immersed in the present task to the point of completely losing track of time. Vishen in his presentation says that to be in a state of flow, two conditions must be present. You must be happy in the present moment and also you must also have a positive vision of your future. He elaborates this further by explaining about 4 states of mind, that we could possibly be experiencing at any point in time.
Negative Spiral(Not happy now, No positive vision of future)
This is the least desirable state to be in. In this state, the person is neither happy in the present moment nor has a vision of the future that excites the person. There is nothing to look forward to in the future nor is there anything in the present to make this person happy. A lot of people not enjoying their jobs at present and not having the hope of a job shift (or a career change) for whatever reasons, could be in this state. You have to move out of this state. You will draw upon yourself so much negativity in life that it could affect your physical and mental well being eventually.
Current reality trap (Happy now, But no vision of the future)
This is the state of mind when we were young, in College, having good time with friends, not having to shoulder family burdens and having that invincible feeling of being able to do anything in future and therefore not bothering to think too much about our vision for the future. It does feel nice for a while to be in this state, but without a clear direction and without a positive vision for the future, soon life gets challenging when one has to make career decisions that has long term implication and when new pressures have to be handled.
Anxiety State (Not happy now, but have a positive vision for the future)
This is the state of mind that affects a lot of start up entrepreneurs. They are thrilled and excited with their entrepreneurial vision and the long term dream of the company they want to build. But often times in the present moment, when they have to deal with multi fold problems ranging from cash flow to hiring good talents to building a world class product or service to figuring out go to market strategy, the entrepreneur is under a lot of present moment stress. It’s not a pleasurable state to be in, but still the entrepreneur keeps pushing because he uses the positive vision of his future to sustain his positivity. But again this will not be lasting as without being happy in the present, it’s hard to keep pushing on. Sooner or later, the negativity will set in and will destroy the future vision.
Flow State (Happy now and have a positive vision for the future)
This is the most desirable state to be in, when you are happy in the present moment and you also have a positive vision of the future that keeps you motivated. This is the state when Emotion and Vision come together creating circumstances for the “Law of attraction” to work. This is the true ‘Flow state’. When you are in this state, you are no longer dragging yourself from the bed to go for work each morning. You are looking forward to the work. You enjoy the work in the present moment and you also have a vision for his future that is positive and exciting. A lot of successful entrepreneurs, film actors, sports champions, musicians and so on, are in this state. Sadly many Corporate jobs do not allow employees to be in this ‘Flow state’. There are some exceptional companies that do manage to keep their employees in a flow state by matching right people to the right job and showing them a progressive growth path that gives them a sense of purpose and longing to get there in the future.
Watch this engaging presentation by Vishen Lakhiani on ‘Why happiness is the new productivity’ where he explains this 4 states and also throws light on some principles he has used in building his own company to enable everyone in his company to be in this flow state.