Afterword @F-L-O-W

Afterword @F-L-O-W

Flow, Deliberative Practice, and Happiness @F-L-O-W

I want to start with what you already know about flow, and show you a contrast @F-L-O-W.

Here is the information from psychology:

Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. Proposed by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the positive psychology concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields.

According to Csikszentmihalyi, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate 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 although flow is also described (below) as a deep focus on nothing but the activity – not even oneself or one’s emotions.

Buzz terms for this or similar mental states include: to be in the moment, present, in the zone, on a roll, wired in, in the groove, on fire, in tune, centered, or singularly focused.

Here are some selected quotes, contributed by Alicia Parr:

But as human beings, we are more than just alive. We are seekers and strivers. We too need to flow. So we develop human flow systems—economies, societies, and communities. And in a way these also live and die. It turns out that flow—quite literally—is the essence of life.”

“If we’re always on that quest, fulfillment has to be found on the way, too. We’re not just flowing toward something, but we’re also always in the process of flowing—that is, becoming, doing, and being.”

“So what’s the first step on our quest? I can’t resist one more quote from Csikszentmihalyi." -Alicia Parr

To know oneself is the first step toward making flow a part of one’s entire life. But just as there is no free lunch in the material economy, nothing comes free in the psychic one. If one is not willing to invest psychic energy in the internal reality of consciousness, and instead squanders it in chasing external rewards, one loses mastery of one’s life, and ends up becoming a puppet of circumstances.

This is how we can participate in the creation of something larger than ourselves, the realization of which may occur in the future. This is how we find happiness in that great flowering of our existence.

With an understanding of flow—both in the sense of the world around us and in the sense of the self right now—we will come to see that freedom and flow are two branches of the same beautiful tree.”

Read more:

Flow @F-L-O-W

I am careful to differentiate flow from @F-L-O-W. As stated, @F-L-O-W represents an acronym for Flawless Living Operating Worldview, as contrasted with Blank Slate, or BS Worldview, currently in vogue. @F-L-O-W as a manifesto, is located at, but succinctly means that this worldview counters the BS view, that we can be anything we can be, anyone can learn and apply anything, that we are all equal, that life is fair, and that we are rational human beings, doings, havings, and becomings. While there are many other contrasts, see for more, suffice it to say that @F-L-O-W is counter-intuitive, where BS is intuitive, a clear advantage which will be difficult to overcome.

Basically, @F-L-O-W  we are able to use flow states and levels to create a path, however this path can not be described by flow. While flow can be a goal @F-L-O-W it is a much broader scope and involved the counter-intuitive notions, such as a contrast with this statement from the above quote:

“To be caught in the ennui of depression or the agitation of anxiety is to be barred from flow.”

I do not believe this is the case, because it fails to recognize that negative states can actually be @F-L-O-W. Barring negative states such as anxiety and depression leaves off the negative loops that are required for equilibration in some human beings, and while negative consequences can emerge, the overall effect can produce well-being in ways that we least expect. While flow is often a positive loop (get more of what you are getting), providing increasing returns, so are anxiety, panic and depression. Negative loops (get less of what you got), or balancing conditions are often required for balancing the psychological environment. Note:  not being a psychologist, I take liberties perhaps not earned, fyi…yet these system effects are critical to understand the network @F-L-O-W and why it is different than flow.

Unlike BS, @F-L-O-W uses power-law distribution found in network effects,  more than bell-curve distribution found in most statistics. The bell curve method can distort the equilibration that is present and available to us all, at ranges far from the “normal” personality. Again, we are perfect, just creative evolution’s way of gaining increased levels of fitness over time. Yet because of the natural misalignments emerging from diverse existential conditions—the original idea of evolution toward fitness, we are confused by a worldview designed to constitute us as broken, therefore beating, cajoling, fire-walking, tricking us into submission to the success equals happiness formula which requires that we all change to fit the “success requirements.”  And along the way, a subtle bit of manipulation shifting us irrationally from needing to wanting.

Trust me on one thing, look around, the 1% who are naturally aligned with wealth-rule sets, use OPM, OPT, OPKSEs, OPE, and so on, meaning other’s people’s MITEAM (money, information, time, energy, attention and motivation)—they are not changing for anyone, they GET IT, why change when you can fill the gap with OPMITEAM? Silly thought to them, and the rest of us conditioned to labor in the success = happiness equation, that seems intuitive, yet, keeps our nose’s on the grindstone, change in the air and our attention on everything but who we are.

Counter-intuitive @F-L-O-W

It says we are already perfect, and that while in that perfection we will achieve states of flow left to our own devices, both positive and negative reinforcing states, enduring positive and negative consequences as a natural emergence. BS has us busy using their devices and flow is often rare, often indirect and almost certainly in limbo, and not connected to a natural path, but one “manufactured by the powers at be. We want to generate flow states and levels and even a path @F-L-O-W , and we will not leave any of our talents behind, because if we do, we give up happiness in the process.

Happiness and flow are not the same thing @F-L-O-W .

This is often difficult to grok at first, because happiness is an array of things, some of which don’t fit the feel-good happiness of BS. Someone is in flow, or happy jumping on a grenade to save friends? Not in the traditional BS definition, @F-L-O-W? YES…albeit the ultimate act. Now, I’m not suggesting you go round jumping on grenades, but to illustrate the point, what might seem like pain can also be @F-L-O-W and this clearly differentiates flow @F-L-O-W, for the record. To the extent we notice where pain is likely to be generated, understanding that we are not always feel-good, positive emoting and in flow states or levels, is central to maintaining the path @F-L-O-W.

I know it’s laborious to distinguish them by using the “dashes.” However, it’s a reminder that happiness, success and the tensions of alignment are all punctuated, spaced in time through maturation of development, and that it’s a journey filled with ALL of our emotions, and in seasons of life.

Deliberative Practice @F-L-O-W

There are arguments and debate about flow and deliberative practice, that one is superior to the other.

About deliberative practice from: learning method

“Practice is the act of rehearsing a behavior over and over, or engaging in an activity again and again, for the purpose of improving or mastering it, as in the phrase "practice makes perfect". Sports teams practice to prepare for actual games. Playing a musical instrument well takes a lot of practice. It is a method of learning and of acquiring experience. The word derives from the Greek "πρακτική" (praktike), feminine of "πρακτικός" (praktikos), "fit for or concerned with action, practical"[1] and that from the verb "πράσσω" (prasso),"to achieve, bring about, effect, accomplish".[2] In American English practice is used as both a noun and a verb, but in British English there is a distinction between practice, used as a noun, and practise, used as a verb (see spelling differences). Sessions scheduled for the purpose of rehearsing and performance improvement are called practices. They are engaged in by sports teams, bands, individuals, etc. "He went to football practice everyday after school," for example.”  

There are criticisms of flow that pertain to the ideas @F-L-O-W. While I could say @F-L-O-W subsumes both flow and deliberative practice, it would seem arrogant, although remaining logical, but counter-intuitive when you understand that you are going to get better with “repetition” and in large part (being an athlete for a long time, at a high level in my life)…we move along the chain from unconsciously incompetent, consciously incompetent, to conscious competence, to unconscious competence, a simple process that describes why practice is required. Deliberative practice is BS, because it assumes that if I deliberatively practice that I can master anything, but why would you? Again, it is the success requirements driving our behavior, not happiness.

Now, for those dismayed at the notion and try to toss out the baby with the bathwater, let me say this: anything that is deeply motivating to you will receive deliberation and of course we develop fastest and best around those areas; learning deep and profound in areas where free energy is generated—duh.

Not to be disrespectful, but the important thing to remember, is that if all behavior can be traced back to intrinsic motivation, even the motivation to deliberately practice as an end to and of itself, then what we do more, approaches mastery. The key is this: are you doing it for success or happiness, or the tension in between. @F-L-O-W, noticing why is going to enable a path of flow to emerge, with flow states and levels.

This notion of free energy is ignored in the areas where deliberative practice is spoken about, championed by the recent quote in BLINK, by Malcom Gladwell, which I heard in the 80s from Brian Tracy, that 10,000 hours of practice equals mastery.

Free energy @F-L-O-W is an idea which I believe to be true and helpful. When we are in flow states, even when those flow states are negative, and not just positive, we generate free energy, because the tasks are second nature, and easy, because the capability, or “motional” energy available is not used up and it disperses, so we actually get entropy in those flow states, believe it or not! Who would have thunk it, right? My contention and liberal use of the second law of thermodynamics is that this free energy is available, even as it’s dispersed, to be “uphilled” into  things like deliberative practice. Using flow, in fact, I will hypothesis this from my own experience, you verify it with your experience: we are in flow states and levels when we reach unconscious competence, regardless of how we got there, and in most cases entropy, as well as free energy is being dissipated.

Reaching flow is a phase shift opportunity @F-L-O-W, not that a phase shift happens every time you are in flow states or levels, but achieving the path @F-L-O-W, then reorganizes the system to seek beyond mastery. In other words, reaching one level of mastery, permits the reorganization of our system into another phase, “punctuated” by, in, and over time by a maturational dance of development.

I caution you about deliberate practice and how it’s applied. @F-L-O-W `we create flow-generated happiness, even when it’s not always positive, and therefore giving up happiness for success, which is deliberate practice generating, if NOT in an area intrinsically motivating, may be a mistake.

The point?

Make sure to find, design and use @F-L-O-W before applying loads of deliberative practice, or you won’t escape the BS notions that condition you to exchange happiness for success—wants for needs. The remainder of the book is an expose on the figure and ground shift between the elements @F-L-O-W and the contrast with BS.

I hope you give @F-L-O-W an opportunity to show and demonstrate that allowing @F-L-O-W into your life, work and relationships has a reward far greater than the time you invest here.

DISCLAIMER: My work @F-L-O-W is based on my own experience, research, current events, interviews, and what I’ve learned as a coach, consultant, and mentor over the course of my career. It may and probably does contain errors and you shouldn’t make any decision based solely on what you read here. It’s your money and your responsibility. I make no attempt at providing professional advice to be used in the course of making life, work, or relationship decisions. I am not a psychologist, financial professional, nor do I earn any fees by advising people in any professional medium, or discipline. I do my best to provide you with my insights that I have gathered over time by living and traveling internationally and working with people around the globe to understand meaning making, how to make sense out of what I see, read and experience for your use in your own meaning making. Under no circumstances do I take any responsibility, nor have any accountability for the decision you might make as a result of my insights and my written, spoken, or video material, online or otherwise. For more info @F-L-O-W, visit

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