Pursuing Flow to develop Confidence and Trust

The key to personal integrity and contentment.

Readership: Men; Men in Relationships;
Theme: Overcoming Obstacles
Length: 1,600 words
Reading Time: 5.5 minutes

Continuing from Wednesday’s post, Harnessing the Motivations of Others (2022-4-20), here I’ll explain in detail how employing Flow in Feedback Loops can be used to build up healthy egos and develop confidence and bonding in a relationship.

First, a primer in Flow.

An Introduction to Flow

Readers who are unfamiliar with the concept of Flow may want to read through the posts I’ve written on this topic before, to get a foundation on some key concepts that I’ll use here.

As given in the first post, the central components of the Flow experience are listed below. An abridged significance is ascribed to each one in brackets.

  1. Intense and focused concentration on the present moment – [Challenge]
  2. Merging of action and awareness – [Contact / Involvement]
  3. A loss of reflective self-consciousness – [Worship]
  4. A sense of personal control or agency over the situation or activity – [Skill]
  5. A distortion of temporal experience, one’s subjective experience of time is altered – viz. a transcendental experience – [Eternity]
  6. An experience of the activity as intrinsically rewarding, also referred to as an autotelic experience – [Desire / Motivation]

These aspects can appear independently of each other, but only in combination do they constitute a so-called Flow experience.

Developing Flow

Prof. Mihály Csíkszentmihályi introduced the following diagram to illustrate Flow.

The process of developing flow is shown in the next three diagrams. Flow is attained by maintaining a balance between one’s Skill level and Challenge level. To begin the long process of building up one’s skill in facing a challenge, it all begins with where you presently are, and not where you think you should be.

It should be noted that getting immediate Feedback concerning the efficacy of one’s actions in response to a challenge is an important part of developing Skill. The speed of return, fidelity, and quality of the feedback greatly affects the learning curve.

If we turn this around and look at the experience of Flow from a woman’s perspective, giving her Feedback is the first step in allowing her to establish the Volitional Cascade chain, as we will see later.

In totality, this hearkens back to what Scott wrote about establishing a trajectory early in life. However, it’s never too late to begin.

Using Flow to Develop Your Life and Your Relationships

According to God’s design for humanity, the man’s ego is built around his work (i.e. the expression of his Mission), while the woman’s ego needs to be incorporated into her marital relationship.

To begin with, a man must trust God in his life purpose and develop his own Flow therein (a continually growing balance of skill and challenge). If the reader understands Flow, then this should need no further elaboration.

Red Pill Apostle gave us this prescription which is actually a rough guide for Men pursuing holistic Flow in their broader lives.

“Married men need to focus on improving themselves, but for their own sake, not for anything to do with their wives. Be active, read, learn and rekindle or develop further interests and hobbies. None of this has anything to do with the Mrs., although she might benefit from them. If you don’t have a clear purpose in life pray, meditate on God’s word and ask Him to guide you in this. Your purpose can involve seemingly big or small aspects of life and it usually will allow you to use the gifts God has given you. Once you have a peace about what you are supposed to do, get after it unapologetically and let the wife know how you expect her to help you in this.

The prior paragraph is an exercise in masculinity. It is the act of pursuing your purpose and wanting your wife to be part of that with you, but being willing to move ahead regardless, that she will find attractive. If you apply the same fearless attitude to telling your wife what you want from her sexually, you are going to get much more than you ever thought possible. Be confident when you tell her (not ask for) what you want, as if you have no doubt she’ll go along with you, and then be indifferent if she declines.”

Overall, RPA is describing the tasks of clearing away the hindrances that would prevent a Man from achieving Flow. Again, a man cannot do this unless he has a healthy ego and a sense of Flow to begin with.

A task that requires mutual coordination can be a Flow bonding experience.

Once a man has his Mission in place, then he can think about taking on a companion and helper in the form of a woman. Attracting a woman’s interest and ego investment may be easier than you might think. It might help to think of a woman as a bundle of unique wants, needs, and desires. Among these is a basic desire for Masculinity, which has three main ingredients.

  1. Strength, of which Fitness is a basic prerequisite.
  2. Mission, of which Skill is an implicit and essential part.
  3. Joy and Enthusiasm are attractive and serve to draw certain important others into your world.

The man initiates by noticing a woman’s interest in him and his endeavors, and inviting or accepting her into his sphere of influence. During the interaction, the woman will attempt to access the man’s attention, energy, time, and so on, according to her desires/interests. Scott’s Axiom comes into play at this point. The man accedes her presence and influence and begins to give her feedback about how she can adapt and adjust to the larger enterprise. The woman follows by responding to his feedback.

The volitional cascade chain begins at this point.*

Feedback –> Trust –> Relevancy –> Humility –> Comfort –> Security

Flow is incorporated into the cascade chain in the following step-by-step process.

  1. As Feedback leads to Trust and Relevancy, her submission to his authority as an act of obedience to God’s order is the feminine version of trusting God. Men should be experiencing more bonding during this process.
  2. Relevancy is the process of developing Flow within the relationship.
  3. Somewhere between Relevancy and Humility (AKA “falling in love”) is the threshold where Flow begins to take effect in the relationship, allowing the relationship to take on a life of it’s own. Many couples describe this experience as intuitively knowing what the other needs, and understanding the other’s thoughts and intentions without a word spoken.
  4. After this, the biggest challenge to men is in enhancing Flow such to give her consistent Feedback that leads her further towards Comfort and then Security.
  5. When Security has been attained, neither one is interested in considering other competitive romantic interests available to them.
  6. Finally, Sanctification sets in.

Therefore, two very important longitudinal goals for establishing and strengthening an emotionally healthy relationship are (1) to achieve a balanced, well-adusted ego for both the man and woman, and (2) to pursue Flow in the relationship. Ideally, these aspects should be firmly in place before sexual consummation.

Σ Frame Axiom 16: Start focusing on the small things to slowly build an Internal Locus of Control.

* Readers who may still be wondering why the woman’s ego investment is important should recall how women apply volitional will when dealing with a man, as described in A Volitional Model of Cascade Courtship (2021-11-15). This study also answered the question of why Women have sex to influence men (2021-11-10). Basically, it is because It’s all about her Ego (2021-11-12).

Flow is enjoyable for all.

Concluding Statements

Ego investment and Flow are like a “glue” that holds couples together, in addition to shared enterprises (e.g. working on his mission, traveling, raising children), and sex.

A woman’s motivation is not purpose driven, like a man’s would be, but instead seeks to establish a cascading chain of increasing ego relevancy. Women see themselves as being responsible for either the success or failure of establishing this chain, even though much of the necessary context lies outside of their control. In fact, it is necessary for her to have the impression that she exercises volitional will in the matter of getting Feedback, or else she cannot make the next step to Trust.

The good news is that men are not rowing upstream and against the current when trying to form healthy ego attachments in their relationships. Women are actively seeking to establish ego relevancy, so men need to be aware of the more psychologically healthy propensities that she has and latch on to them. Always reward the behavior you want from her with ego stroking attention. Bad behavior can undergo extinction when it is ignored (viz. not rewarded with attention) for a sufficient length of time.

Remember, punishment and/or negative attention (e.g. criticism, scorn) is also attention, which is taken to be a positive reward feedback by the woman. Having a history of this type of interaction is why (too many) women have the notion that making a scene is an acceptable way to get the attention that she wants and needs. Moral Guidance Based Feedback vs. Sexual Attention (2021-11-24) covered the importance of moulding wives and daughters, and this should be done with the aim of forming healthy ego attachments, rather than pursuing self-centered imperatives.

About Jack

Jack is a world traveling artist, skilled in trading ideas and information, none of which are considered too holy, too nerdy, nor too profane to hijack and twist into useful fashion. Sigma Frame Mindsets and methods for building and maintaining a masculine Frame
This entry was posted in Agency, Attraction, Choosing a Partner or Spouse, Collective Strength, Confidence, Courtship and Marriage, Female Power, Game Theory, Headship and Patriarchy, Intersexual Dynamics, Introspection, Leadership, Male Power, Masculine Disciplines, Maturity, Personal Growth and Development, Models of Success, Moral Agency, Organization and Structure, Personal Domain, Power, Psychology, Purpose, Relationships, Sphere of Influence, Stewardship, Trust, Vetting Women. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Pursuing Flow to develop Confidence and Trust

  1. rontomlinson2 says:

    Jack said:

    “Remember, punishment and/or negative attention (e.g. criticism, scorn) is also attention, which is taken to be a positive reward feedback by the woman.”

    Yes, this is very true and I’ve forgotten it on several occasions.

    If only we’d studied ‘White Fang’ at school:

    “So Collie took advantage of her sex to pick upon White Fang and maltreat him. His instinct would not permit him to attack her, while her persistence would not permit him to ignore her. When she rushed at him he turned his fur-protected shoulder to her sharp teeth and walked away stiff-legged and stately. When she forced him too hard, he was compelled to go about in a circle, his shoulder presented to her, his head turned from her, and on his face and in his eyes a patient and bored expression. Sometimes, however, a nip on his hind-quarters hastened his retreat and made it anything but stately. But as a rule he managed to maintain a dignity that was almost solemnity. He ignored her existence whenever it was possible, and made it a point to keep out of her way. When he saw or heard her coming, he got up and walked off.”

    Wolves going their own way — but nota bene only when she approaches.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jack says:

    I’ve hidden some comments because they were off topic. Concerning other topics of interest, readers are encouraged to submit drafts for publication.

    Like

  3. Scott says:

    “…punishment and/or negative attention (e.g. criticism, scorn) is also attention, which is taken to be a positive reward feedback by the woman.”

    If she already thinks you are hot.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Scott says:

    Flow seems to be something that generally happens to people who are really passionate about what they are doing, and they are good at it.

    We studied it a little in graduate school, and I remember thinking it sounded really weird. But now, I can be writing a report on a forensic client that requires great focus and concentration to make sure I am operating and producing a product that occupies the intersection between legal nuances and clinical opinion and several hours goes by before I realize I have lost track of time.

    Like

    • Jack says:

      @Scott,

      “Flow… generally happens to people who are really passionate about what they are doing, and they are good at it.”

      “I can be writing a report on a forensic client that requires great focus and concentration… and several hours goes by before I realize I have lost track of time.”

      IOW, you experience Flow in your work. I do too. When I step into the classroom to teach or sit down at my desk, I become immersed in the activity and forget about everything else. It’s also immensely satisfying. I have the same experience when writing posts for this blog. When I was younger, I experienced Flow in painting, welding, woodworking, and working on classic Chryslers. I also note that relationships are best when people experience Flow in their interactions. This is why shared enterprises are so powerful in drawing people together.

      I encourage readers to take stock of how they spend their time, and identify those activities in which they experience Flow. I believe if you focus on those activities and consider whether they might be part of your work/mission, then you’ll find some latent blessings there.

      Like

  5. Red Pill Apostle says:

    The concept of flow is quite important for personal development and the charts in the OP are a good visual aid for why this is. They depict the operating area where people are challenged enough for growth without being overwhelmed or so dominant amongst their peers that boredom and apathy set in.

    In sports I’ve seen where the athlete is not up to the competition level and washes out even though the potential was there. I’ve also seen athletes find a fit in what would be considered less competitive leagues and then reach skill levels on par with the more competitive leagues. They were pushed athletically without being so far behind the competition that growth was inhibited.

    From a professional development standpoint I’ve heard the concept of flow has been expressed the following way and experienced this to be true. You want to be in a position where you can be in the top quartile of the workers in your field. If you start a position and you are the most talented worker from day one, you run the risk of hindering your career due to people questioning why you are undershooting for your talent level. A position where you are overmatched will draw scrutiny to your work and can hinder career progression for performance reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

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