Do you ever sit down to write about something or begin thinking about how you can implement your great idea, to then discover that it’s already being done, or that the topic has been extensively considered? It is rare that we are the lucky catalyst to ‘invent’ something (going from 0 to 1). It is much more often that we are innovators (going from 1 to 1000), and that’s just fine.  Especially when the 0 to 1 is so compelling and being part of the 1 to 1000 is more than exhilarating and filled with opportunity.

Anyway, that’s all to say that I don’t need to pontificate on my ideas around flow and innovation right now as the incredible ground work and research is well underway. While it definitely explores some edgy and fringe cultures, Stealing Fire takes an impressive look at the Selflessness, Timelessness, Effortlessness, and Richness (STER) we need to create peak experiences. And it offers a few ideas and techniques for increasing flow states in our everyday lives and during our work commitments.

I’m contemplating a few key questions after my reading: 

1. Flow can be achieved quickly with high risk (sky diving), or over a long period of time with low risk (meditation). What are the middle ground approaches? What can be incorporated into our average work day successfully?

2. The selflessness aspect to STER is really compelling to consider for community members and leaders working to serve others and build a better world. How can we further enrich that innately selfless work? And where are the possibilities to innovate and make that service feel more effortless. Where else and how else are STER work environments in nonprofits and social enterprises possible?

3. Flow matters both in terms of productivity and arriving at break through ideas that prevent us from running into the same problems over and over again, or doing things in less-than-desirable ways. There are aspects to creating flow that seem costly and unobtainable for the everyday worker and for a small company or nonprofit.  Given the necessity of flow, what can we design into our daily work processes? Our drives to work? Our family time? Our meals?