For me, happiness is about being in the flow. I get the most pleasure at those times when all of my attention and all of my senses are focused and fully occupied in an activity that’s happening right here and right now.
At one time, when my reflexes were better, I got Flow Experiences from finding exactly the right line to take my motorbike through a curve; cranked over, moving fast, but perfectly straight, perfectly in tune withe bike and the shape of the road, perfectly happy. Nowadays I get this when I’m writing fiction and my words, emotions, thoughts, and imagination are working in harmony or when I’m working with a group of people on a complex but solvable problem and we are doing more together than we could do apart.
Tao also teaches that flow experiences produce happiness. Tao encourages “Being Present” in the moment as a way of overcoming the artificial divisions between mind and body and entering the flow of the universe.
My happiness depends upon focus, concentration, and challenge.
That is why I don’t use IM or push email, or Facebook or Twitter during the working day; they disrupt my concentration, causing me to crash out of the flow into a pleasure-denying cognitus interruptus.
Many of my colleagues stress the importance of multi-tasking, and of being “always on”. They believe this makes them more efficient and more responsive. They may be right. I only know that, in my case, my productivity and my happiness take a dive. It seems to me, that if I am “always on”, I cannot truly be completely present in the here and now.
I like to do one thing at a time, to the best of my abilities. I get a buzz from sustaining my concentration on a single challenging focal point,until I achieve my goal.
I recognise that I sound like a luddite and a fossil when I say these things.
Before you write me off as an old fart, I suggest this experiment: for one working day set your phone to voicemail, switch off IM and email, leave Twitter and Facebook alone and focus on getting into the flow working on problem with your team.
I believe you will find that you are more productive, less stressed and yes, happier