Tag Archives: flow

A new way to think about creativity

In this excellent TED talk Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the bestseller Eat, Pray, Love, questions the stereotype of the creative genius as some sort of tortured soul with mental health problems.  Elizabeth talks honestly about the pressure of continuing to follow her passion for writing after achieving such success with Eat, Pray Love and explores how other creatives find their flow and inspiration either despite or because of success they have achieved.   Elizabeth praises the courage creative people have in just showing up every day and “doing their dance” whatever that dance may be. Despite the pressure to continue to succeed she has taught herself to show up and continue to do what she loves to do, ending her talk with this lovely ode to the creative process:

“Don’t be daunted. Just do your job. Continue to show up for your piece of it, whatever that might be. If your job is to dance, do your dance. If the divine, cockeyedRead the rest...

I used to be invisible

Author David Zweig talking about his new book Invisibles on CBS News

This week I have been reading, with great interest, a new book by David Zweig entitled Invisibles.  This book is part of a recent raft of books emanating from America, such as Quiet by Susan Cain, Give and Take by Adam Grant and Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek which advocate turning the volume down, giving to other people, putting others first and ending incessant self-promotion.   It’s an interesting and welcome trend which is aiming to reverse the view that only loud, brash celebrities who are famous for being famous (and ideally wealthy) can be successful and fulfilled.

The premise of David Zweig’s book Invisibles, is that there is a group of highly talented professionals who choose meaningful work over recognition.  By flying under the radar these individuals achieve greater well-being and job satisfaction than many who … Read the rest...

Shiny, happy people in Amsterdam


A shiny, happy person in an Amsterdam flea market.

Last week I had the good fortune to attend the 7th European Conference on Positive Psychology (ECPP) in the beautiful city of Amsterdam.  Apart from a great opportunity to get together with some of my fellow MAPP students from London, the conference was also an opportunity to meet other MAPP students from around the world and to hear some of the best known researchers in the field talk about their work.  The conference was held at Beurs van Berlage, a stunning venue in central Amsterdam, which was to be our refuge for the duration of the week until we emptied out in to the bustling streets of Amsterdam each evening to digest the contents of the day’s lectures and workshops.

So what do 900 plus positive psychologist do for a week when they are couped up in a beautiful building apart from repeatedly sing Pharrell William’s Happy song? A lot of serious scientific stuff actually (although … Read the rest...

How to create a life of purpose

This fascinating article from Brainpickings gives some great pointers on how to go about finding your purpose in life.  It’s worth a read:

How to find you purpose and do what you love

Why prestige is the enemy of passion, or how to master the balance of setting boundaries and making friends.

“Find something more important than you are,” philosopher Dan Dennett once said in discussing the secret of happiness,“and dedicate your life to it.” But how, exactly, do we find that? Surely, it isn’t by luck. I myself am a firm believer in the power of curiosity and choice as the engine of fulfillment, but precisely how you arrive at your true calling is an intricate and highly individual dance of discovery. Still, there are certain factors — certain choices — that make it easier. Gathered here are insights from seven thinkers who have contemplated the art-science of making your life’s calling a living.

Read the rest...

The Happiness Experiment Bookshelf (Part 2)

At the end of 2013 I will compile a list of my Top 20 favourite books this year. This is the second blog post on The Happiness Experiment Bookshelf with some more books which I have enjoyed so far this year. Here’s a link to the books which made it on to my 2012 bookshelf. There are already some strong contenders for the 2013 Top 20 so I know it will be a difficult choice.  Some of the books are newly published, some are just new to me. Please let me know if you would recommend any other books for this list. Here is a link to part 1 of this bookshelf blog post.


6. Happy Money

I reviewed Happy Money in a previous blog post which you can read here.  It is an interesting read which looks at ways to increase your happiness by spending your hard earned cash wisely.


7. Choose the Life you want


Tal Ben Shahar has written many books on the subject of happiness and in his latest book he looks at 101 ways to create your route to happiness . In his latest… Read the rest...

Daring Greatly With Art

“It’s not the critic who counts. It’s not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled. Credit belongs to the man who really was in the arena, his face marred by dust, sweat, and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs to come short and short again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming. It is the man who actually strives to do the deeds, who knows the great enthusiasm and knows the great devotion, who spends himself on a worthy cause, who at best, knows in the end the triumph of great achievement. And, who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and cruel souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”  Theodore Roosevelt

This famous quote by Theodore Roosevelt was the inspiration behind the title of author and researcher Dr Brené Brown’s latest book Daring Greatly.  Daring Greatly encourages us to show up, to let ourselves be seen, to try even… Read the rest...

Orla Kiely: How doing what you love can lead to global success

As a mosaic artist I have always loved colour and pattern and can happily spend many hours making mosaic patterns with tiles and plates.  I am always in “flow” when making mosaics but I am not giving up the day job yet as this love of pattern has always been an interest rather than a job.  It is fascinating to hear stories of people who manage to make a living doing what they love and Orla Kiely is a wonderful example of someone whose love of pattern has created a global empire.  The article below from The Times looks at a Day in the Life of the very talented Orla Kiely:


How did one simple print create a global empire?

The fashion and interior designer Orla Kiely, 49, has a queue of fans, including Kate Middleton. She talks about the secret of her success

The fashion and interior designer Orla Kiely

Orla Kiely was thrilled when Kate Middleton wore one of her designs (Chloe Dewe Mathews)

I’m out of bed by 6.45, and by 7.30, my husband, Dermott, my two teenage sons, Robert and Hamish, and… Read the rest...

To flow or not to flow that is the question

Many experts in positive psychology argue in favour of focusing on flow as a means to happiness and well-being.  The excellent article below by Bridget Grenville-Cleave  provides you with 5 reasons to focus on flow as part of your well being armoury.  I personally am hugely in favour of the concept of flow as I think that if you can become completed engaged with mastering the task before you all other concerns simply melt away.  The only gripe I have with the theory of flow is that it can become so addictive.  In my own case I get the greatest sense of flow when I am being creative.  For months my creative energies were poured into setting up and writing this blog and I loved doing it, but  in writing the Happiness Experiment blog I was excluding other pursuits which I also valued. I took a few month’s break from the blog to refocus and my creative energies have gone in to creating art (mainly mosaic art) to the exclusion of the blog –… Read the rest...

Why is listening to your inner accountant not a route to happiness?

I was fortunate to meet creativity guru Julia Cameron in London at the weekend. She was running a two day creativity workshop with Alternatives based on her book the Artist’s Way.  It was a wonderful experience to meet her in person and to meet other “closet creatives” who have found the book a useful way to unleash a little more of their creativity.  It was interesting to note at a workshop of over 100 people that many people share the same obstacles to creativity such as lack of belief in our own creative abilities, too many other pressures on our time, listening to our inner critic, lack of inspiration etc. etc…………

One of the participants made the very funny statement:  “My problem is not so much that I have an inner critic, it’s more that I have an inner accountant!” Many of the participants could relate to this comment and it is with this obstacle in mind that Julia Cameron has written… Read the rest...

How finding your passion changes everything

Recent articles and Happiness Experiment no 11 have looked at the concept of Flow and how getting absorbed in an activity which you are really passionate about can boost your happiness.  For further inspiration I recommend that you purchase the book called The Element by Sir Ken Robinson which looks at ways of being in our element.  Being in our  element is defined as the point at which our natural talent meets our personal passion. This is where people feel most themselves and are inspired and able to achieve at their highest levels.  The book is illustrated with examples of people who have made a successful living through doing what they love like Vidal Sassoon, Ariana Huffington and Matt Groening.  Robinson argues that age and occupation are no barrier and explains how it is possible for each one of us to reach our element. Read Sir Ken Robsinson’s book and watch his inspiring TED Talk – finding your true passion could just… Read the rest...