Updated: Jul 12, 2022
Every month, The Sunset Project board member Kevin O'Brien breaks down news articles, stories, and people that he finds interesting and relatable to The Sunset Project's mission!
This week's article, courtesy of The New York Times
Written By: Adam Grant
Publish Date: December 2021
Have you ever met up with someone, and when they asked how you were doing, the only sound you could muster up was a “blah”? I have certainly experienced this stale, bored, and dull feeling more than once over the past few years, even before the pandemic. What I’m describing has a name; it’s called languishing.
Languishing is a sense of stagnation as if you’re trudging along in a rut each day. It’s not that you’re severely depressed or experiencing any intense mental health issues. Simply put, you feel like you’re not progressing and are not satisfied with your current life situation.
The author of this article, Adam Grant, addresses how this is one of the most dominant emotions of the last few years. It also helps that there is indeed a name to this feeling. It helps us identify and label our emotions a little easier. I know what you’re thinking “great! I can name this. What do I do now? Is there an answer?”. Yes! There are ways to combat this. Grant offers the idea of engaging in activities that bring you joy in which you may enter a flow state. Flow is when your sense of time slows down because you are so immersed in whatever activity you are partaking in. It can be whatever brings you joy and engages you. This can also happen at work when there are little to no distractions. As difficult as that may sometimes be, limiting distractions to increase the flow is vital, which also increases productivity and satisfaction.
I love listening to music and going on walks through nature. That is one of my flow states. I go into a trance of jamming out, marching on, focused on nothing else but the gorgeous scenery around me. It is one of the most treasured times in my day. Grant dives even further into ways to find flow and limit languishing. Still, this is an excellent start for us to identify this feeling a little easier.
The take-home: start to wonder how you can incorporate flow into your life. It does not have to be any complex activity to do it right—anything you enjoy or feel focused on and in the zone will work.
A little about the author: Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist, author, and professor at the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania, and to add a cherry on top, a U of M alumni. He also has a podcast called Worklife, in which he dives into other topics around the workplace, such as impostor syndrome. It’s an excellent episode, and no doubt I have felt that before. I’m a massive fan of this guy, and if you follow me on social media, you should not be surprised because I share his little nuggets of wisdom all the time. Feel free to check it out! I hope this stimulates some conversation or thoughts about how to start finding flow in your life.