In his book, FLOW: The psychology of optimal experience, Mihaly Csikszentmihaly characterizes flow as
The state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.
Have you ever watched children at play and how engrossed they get in a project, whether it is water play, play dough, dress up, or playing in the sand? Often times when I pass a park I just love to stand there for a moment and watch how the children are playing and how they are in sheer bliss.
I have noticed when I am doing something I love I am in the flow. Working with my clients brings me into flow, writing these blogs, cooking a meal can often do this, and playing with my grandchildren for sure get me there. This is when I know I am doing something I totally love to do!
I offer this to you. Pay attention to the moments you are in flow. Ask yourself:
Do you remember a time as a child you were in flow?
What do you love to do just to do it?
How do I find flow in my life now?
Can I recognize flow in my partner or child?
How can you you achieve flow?
Csíkszentmihályi explains that flow is likely to occur when an individual is faced with a task that has clear goals that require specific responses. Extending oneself, stretching of one’s current skills, and getting out of your comfort zone can help an individual experience flow. Flow can also occur in the workplace when workers are engaged in tasks where they are able to focus entirely on the project at hand and not be distracted by various interruptions.
Being in the Flow can make activities more enjoyable and has been shown to improve performance leading to further learning and skill development. It keeps life interesting by continually seeking a new challenge to stretch yourself. What brings you into the flow?