Chasing After Flow

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You know you have a problem with curiosity when…

…your computer starts running slow because you have 10+ tabs open in your browser. This usually happens to me when I’m reading something interesting and they have a link to a related article. I keep clicking on the links and opening them in new tabs because I have this unquenchable desire to read them all. My flow starts kicking in.

Click here for more information about Flow and what it is

This is all fine and dandy when I am at home, but its happened a few times at work where I needed to then address something immediately that was work-related but was delayed because so much RAM was being used by the Internet. My intellectual interests are preventing me from being a productive employee. I blame my work for giving me access to the Internet and two monitors to work with.

It also happens when I’m going through my twitter feed and it seems like everyone is sharing something worthwhile to read. Again, this is great, but can become a distraction and prevent me from doing something that I had originally scheduled to do. Why does this never happen to me when I have plenty of time and nothing to do? Why does it only occur when I should be busy with something else?

All this boils down to one basic dilemma: why can’t we seem to "schedule" our creative juices or intellectual curiosity?

The Perpetual Student

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(Photo credit: jisc_infonet)

What is it about learning something new that is so invigorating? Well that’s not entirely correct, let me try that again: what is it about learning something new that’s interesting that is so invigorating? Has anybody else had that experience? If you have then you know what I’m talking about. And I’m sure almost had had that but maybe they don’t realize it.

There are times when you are learning about some new AND interesting for the first time and it is just so intriguing. You just want to keep learning more and more and have that knowledge engulf you in its amazingness. That desire becomes an unquenchable thirst that consumes all your thoughts and actions. All you care about is learning more and more. It builds on itself too because you kept seeing new connections on how everything relates and/or come up with new questions to be answered. This is flow.

What to learn more about flow? Click here.

I have this flow triggered in many different ways about many different topics. What does it for me might not do it for you and vice versa. That whole not my cup of tea stuff. For me, the big things are psychology and technology which is why you see so much of it on here. I also enjoy business, politics, social media, film and tv, and the list goes on. It doesn’t really matter what it is that gets your flow going but the trick is to figure what it is.

I remember my sophomore year in college as the time was approaching for me to declare my major. I was all set to be a business major. It was a sound choice that would allow me to have greater job opportunities once I was out of school. I went through the course catalog and planned out all the classes I would need. But then I realized something. At this time I was taking Psychology 101 and every time I was around my friends at work I would be talking about some new cool thing I learned in class. The night before I was set to meet my advisor I made the decision to go for psychology instead. One of the best decisions of my life.

In the end I think I would have been fine either way because I have this innate curiosity to learn more and more. I like to see how things are connected and relate to each other. There can be a great joy in figuring out the why of something. Which led to a conversation with my wife the other day. She asked me what I wanted to do career wise since what I’m doing currently isn’t a long-term goal. I thought about it for a second and honestly said if we had the money I would be a full-time student and just study.

Now I’m not a big fan of tests and papers. I hate homework and dislike required readings. So studying that way probably wouldn’t be best. But as I look at different degree programs that are offered and what I would study I become overwhelmed because I want to study them all! I would love to get another masters in this or a PhD in that and that. I really love to learn and cultivate my flow.

Alas, finances do not permit a lifestyle of the perpetual student. Daily life, paying bills, and having mouths to feed require real employment. And I’m okay with that. I console myself in other ways. I seek out to learn new things on my own. I enjoy reading the news and coming across interesting articles. I like to listen to podcasts from iTunes U. I also love TED talks and what the presenters have to share. So while I may not be an official perpetual student on a full-time basis, I will be a avid learner forever.