By Steve Moran

I came across this idea … in a book I read or a podcast or something (I wish I knew who to give credit to): Happiness is about being completely absorbed. It continues to rattle around my head.

Right now I am writing this article while sitting on a flight home from New Jersey where the time is 1:30 a.m., and it will be right at midnight when I land. My seatmate asked me, with more than a little bafflement, if I was still working.

The answer is yes, but it’s not “work,” because I am totally absorbed in writing. This is my third or fourth article I have written this evening while flying home. I am totally in the groove, with my noise canceling headsets playing tunes in my ears. I am 100% totally and completely happy.

First Response

When I first read the quote, I thought, “Yep, for me, but probably not for most people,” and this may be true, but a big part of what makes experiences like going to Disneyland, bungee jumping, skiing, playing with kids, and even having sex so powerful is that we are totally, 100% absorbed when we are doing things.

It even applies to more mundane pursuits; dinner with a good friend, restoring an old car, quilting, painting, gardening. It might even be watching a movie, listening to music, or gazing at a volcano erupting or a river running.

In fact, if you think about it, you have had times where you were doing something that should have been totally absorbing, but you were distracted, and that distraction turned this wonderful thing into something that was not so much fun.

In Your Life

We clearly can’t live our lives 100% totally absorbed. We would burn out or go insane. But if we have no total absorption moments, we will be miserable but we won’t know why.

If you are willing to tell, I would love to hear in the comments what your total absorption moments or activities are.

Your Residents

I find myself wondering if we are spending enough time thinking about what total absorption experiences are or could be for residents. It shifts over time. Going to an amusement park and riding roller coasters was at one time a total absorption experience for me. It has been a long long time since I rode one. Not to say I wouldn’t do it again and that I wouldn’t enjoy it, because I would, but it would not likely fall in that category.

One evening, when I was spending the night at a senior living community, I got to working on a project in the game room, and after dinner a group of residents gathered to play games and have conversation. It was their total absorption experience.

This presents a tremendous opportunity to create total absorption moments for residents, and I find myself wondering if we could do the same for team members. Why not? Let’s give it a try.