You know when you’re doing something you enjoy, and time just melts away? Mihály Csíkszentmihályi calls this single-minded immersion “flow.” Below is the 20 minute TED talk by Mr. Csíkszentmihályi. I’m reading the book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (P.S.), instead of composing a blog post. 😉
Csíkszentmihályi identifies the following ten factors as accompanying an experience of flow:
- Clear goals (expectations and rules are discernible and goals are attainable and align appropriately with one’s skill set and abilities). Moreover, the challenge level and skill level should both be high.
- Concentrating, a high degree of concentration on a limited field of attention (a person engaged in the activity will have the opportunity to focus and to delve deeply into it).
- A loss of the feeling of self-consciousness, the merging of action and awareness.
- Distorted sense of time, one’s subjective experience of time is altered.
- Direct and immediate feedback (successes and failures in the course of the activity are apparent, so that behavior can be adjusted as needed).
- Balance between ability level and challenge (the activity is neither too easy nor too difficult).
- A sense of personal control over the situation or activity.
- The activity is intrinsically rewarding, so there is an effortlessness of action.
- A lack of awareness of bodily needs (to the extent that one can reach a point of great hunger or fatigue without realizing it)
- People become absorbed in their activity, and focus of awareness is narrowed down to the activity itself, action awareness merging.
Not all are needed for flow to be experienced.
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