State of Flow – Being fully immersed in a specific task with a seemingly inexhaustible amount of focus.
In his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explores the phenomenon that is ‘flow’ and how it can be found in day to day life.
The book provides an insight into the state of flow, how it works, the benefits of having it and how to try and achieve a state of flow during your day. As a concept, I was familiar with flow before reading this book, but I was curious to find out more about it and how I could ‘integrate’ it into my work.
Flow is an area of study that has been a large focus of Csikszentmihalyi and therefore he has conducted lots of research and interviews around the topic. In this book he presents the 8 conditions of flow that kept reappearing as he spoke to people.
- Confront tasks we have a chance of completing
- Clearly defined goals
- Immediate feedback as to your progress within the task
- Feels effortless and it allows you to forget about everyday worries and frustrations
- Control (of actions, behaviour and success)
- Lose track of time
An aspect often repeated (and the take home message for me) is that flow can be achieved when the challenge you are about to face, matches your skill level.
At this optimum you need to be fully immersed in the task to be successful. Too easy and you will be bored, too hard and you won’t succeed.
So how can you use this information?
It means you can’t be in flow unless you challenge yourself, unless you are working at your optimum. So if you want to achieve it, you have to push hard to find that limit, and once there you will be amazed with how focused and capable you are on the given task.
Overall it was a good book to read. Not the most exciting I’ve ever read, I will admit. However, it is worth reading! If you’re interested you can find the book here.