For me the most helpful point in Mihaly Csikszentmihaly’s book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, is to take time to set structure to our lives, including tough goals that push us to the limit. He says true enjoyment is characterized by forward movement; the act of pushing ourselves beyond what we are programmed to do to achieve something unexpected.
There are likely a number of things you do already that reach or approach this ideal and get you to that state of flow. For me it includes:
• Playing a close game of tennis that stretches my ability
• Pushing myself to the max in stretching , yoga style
• Reading a book that reveals things in a new light
• Closing a tough real estate deal
• Having a conversation that leads to a discovery of gives me new ideas
• Spending time writing in my journal and setting more goals and plans with dates to push myself
• Working out very, very hard
• Climbing or cycling up a big tough mountain
I think we should all become aware of the flow experiences that push us towards the unexpected, giving us the experiences and forward movement that brings true happiness and contentment. Consider taking the time to figure out what those are for you. Then make them a priority and see if you don’t find your life quite a bit more satisfying.