There has been a lot of attention in recent years on flow—complete absorption in a task that it almost seems effortless. The modern pursuit of flow—how to achieve it, how to maintain it—appeals to our career-driven culture. Who wouldn’t want to achieve more with a feeling of ease? But the roots of flow go back to Confucius, who claimed to have achieved “effortless action,” or what the Chinese called wu-wei.
Edward Slingerland, an internationally renowned expert on Chinese thought and cognitive science, and a Professor of Asian Studies and Canada Research Chair in Chinese Thought and Embodied Cognition at the University of British Columbia, explains the ancient philosophical teachings that will make you think of flow differently. In his latest book, the critically acclaimed Trying Not to Try: The Art and Science of Spontaneity, Slingerland explores the neuroscience behind eastern philosophies. The teachings of Confucious, Laozi, Mencius, and Zhuangzi are understood from a scientific perspective.
The practical insights of Slingerland’s findings are broken down in Big Think Mentor's 5-part workshop that teaches how to reach a state of wu-wei. It also explains the many benefits: greater spontaneity makes one irresistible to others. The ancient Chinese understood it as reaching a state of influence and exponential success. The flow that we strive for in the modern era seems incomplete compared to the wisdom taught by ancient Chinese philosophies.
Slingerland explains how Confucius achieved wu-wei, quoting the philosopher: “’I could follow my heart’s desires and never transgress the bounds.’” The workshop explores the significance of his rituals, practice, and study of which Slingerland says: “He’s completely transformed his nature through these practices.”
To learn more about the journey of Confucius and other masters to attain a state of wu-wei, take advantage of our limited time offer of a free trial to Big Think Mentor. Learn from this and other innovative workshops taught by leading thinkers. To subscribe for your free trial, visit Big Think Mentor.
For more on Slingerland’s exclusive Big Think Mentor workshop, watch this preview and subscribe to Mentor today:
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
Despite incredible economic growth, it is not necessarily an investor's paradise.
- China's stock market is just 27 years old. It's economy has grown 30x over that time.
- Imagine if you had invested early and gotten in on the ground floor.
- Actually, you would have lost money. Here's how that's possible.
Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.
Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.
Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.
- Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
- Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
- But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.