This post for #ThePositivityProject speaks to one of my favorite topics, Engagement, and Flow. Martin Seligman discusses engagement and flow as the state you find yourself in when you lose track of time because you are so focused and enjoying what you are doing. It is a thoughtless state, it just happens. I selected to use flow in my company name for two reasons. First, my son Jacob with autism demonstrates flow when he engages in a preferred topic and it usually is followed by a strong passion and total and complete knowledge of the topic. When I was thinking of what to name my company which was founded to address the autism unemployment numbers, I thought of Jacob and how wonderful it would be to find him a job where he can get paid to be in his flow state! Heck yeh, it would! Then I thought about myself and realized that the work and research I engage in for Grit & Flow puts me in a flow state. My nickname for flow state is, “Oh my gosh, I need to peeeeee!” because I constantly lose myself until my bladder reminds me, I am living in a real-world with bodily functions. I hope that was not too much information, but I think to keep it real.
I started to put on workshops with transition-age youth and job developers to help them turn their passions into strengths and abilities. To frame their resume and LinkedIn profiles to showcase how to apply this to a job. I hope that more and more people will find a job that puts them in the flow state, at least a good portion of the time. If you are transitioning or maybe a little lost in figuring out what puts you in flow, check out GritandFlow.com for free workshops. It is important to love what you do because you spend so much of your time doing it!
Now, I would like to introduce Jacob Jameson. Jacob was diagnosed with Autism when he was 2 years, 4 months old. He started intensive interventions. All his hard work has paid off. He is graduating on May 15th from a college-prep high school with great grades and will be attending Chapman University in the fall majoring in Creative Writing. Jacob found his flow and was able to communicate it in his college entrance essay. He would like to share his essay with and encourage you to find what you love and find a way to make it a job. Thanks for sharing Jacob, and good luck at Chapman! Go Panthers!
College Entrance Essay
I’m not normal. I never am or was. Especially not when diagnosed with autism. When I can’t process how others feel or think, or simply speak sentences clearly. During my childhood, I had to take one colossal step backward, and fight a war against blockades of my mind.
It was never easy, especially during the time I was too young to understand my condition. Therapy was an everyday thing. I was adamant about having the green chair in preschool and believing my hair was black, not the dark brown it actually is. Friends weren’t an easy thing to make, not when I had trouble socializing, and perhaps scared others unintentionally.
For years I fought with those around me who just wanted to help. I never gave up and over time, I reaped the benefits of the battles. Slowly, but surely, I was overcoming my condition.
Finally, in sixth grade, I had won. Officially, I didn’t have the behavioral characteristics to be considered autistic.
However, out of everything, I have a gift I still use today: my imagination. I was always making things, like stories and entire universes. It was the same reason I enjoyed history, for history itself is a massive, singular story where everything connects.
Then, in my high school freshman year, I decided to try something: writing. It was something fresh and passionate that I poured my heart into. With each story I got better and better, filling each with the collective imagination I carried throughout my life. Worlds were mine to create and shape as I wished, as well as their history and future. It became pure freedom for me.
I have not heard of a single person, except George Lucas, with the imagination I have. It dawned on me that I had something incredible come out of my autism. My imagination had to have come from my childhood. If I was never autistic, would I have ever been able to create such fantasies?
Eventually, the quality of my work reached a peak where some have told me it’s worthy of being published. A very interesting thought, and while those stories would remain free, a gift to the people who enjoy them, my horizons expanded from those comments alone. I would become a writer. Even better, I received a goal, a dream even, to make the fantasies I write as real as possible. Not for money or profit. It would be accomplished through today’s media. I will start a career with a game development company or form my own, introduce my world, and make it a reality.
If I told you what my world is, well, that would be spoilers, wouldn’t it?