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Flow

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  • Build: Natasha
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J. Sinclair/CONCEPIA LLC J. Sinclair/CONCEPIA LLC Focused and content. This is Flow.

I was working today on building new cables for Natasha; specifically I needed to make three 8 AWG power cables; one to run from the positive terminal of the battery to starter solenoid; then from starter solenoid to starter motor; and then from the negative terminal of the battery to the a ground mounting point on the engine. I love making cables; there is something intrinsically satisfying about manipulating the wire into the right shape, soldering on new connectors, then making everything tidy with heat shrink tubing. 

While doing this it struck me how happy I was. And that, aside from getting thirsty/hungry, there really wasn't much that could distract me from this task. I could have worked all night... I HAVE worked all night like this. I am sure we have all felt this contentedness at some point in our lives. It has many names but I think the most appropiate is 'Flow'. Wikipedia has a great section describing it. I have included the introduction here, but reccomemend you go read the rest.

Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does. Proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, this positive psychology concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields.[1]

According to Csikszentmihalyi, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate experience in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. In flow, the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand. To be caught in the ennui of depression or the agitation of anxiety is to be barred from flow. The hallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task[2] although flow is also described (below) as a deep focus on nothing but the activity – not even oneself or one's emotions.

Flow has many of the same characteristics as (the positive aspects of) hyperfocus. However, hyperfocus is not always described in such universally glowing terms. For examples, some cases of spending "too much" time playing video games, or of getting side-tracked and pleasurably absorbed by one aspect of an assignment or task to the detriment of the assignment in general. In some cases, hyperfocus can "grab" a person, perhaps causing him to appear unfocused or to start several projects, but complete few.

Colloquial terms for this or similar mental states include: to be in the momentpresentin the zoneon a rollwired inin the grooveon firein tunecentered, or singularly focused.

Wouldn't it be awesome if we could experience this state of mind everyday? I could see me achieving this when I am building my house/studio/workshop, and afterwards when I can spend my days building more and more Natasha derivatives. Plus there is always the concentrated focus and attention when I am shooting in the studio, editing photographs, or when teaching a class.

I'm almost there. It's taken me a little over four decades to get this far, and now I think I know exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life. Bliss. 

(Below is the mockup of how the new workshop will look like. Yes, I will finally get my dream of having a lathe/milling machine, and a blasting cabinet. There is also a spray booth in the left hand corner. Can't wait!)

 

Current hours on build: 119.0 

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