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So What Even IS Flow?:
The 8 Characteristics of Flow
Csikszentmihalyi describes 8 characteristics of flow:
- Complete concentration on the task
- Clarity of goals and reward in mind and immediate feedback
- Transformation of time (speeding up/slowing down of time)
- The experience is intrinsically rewarding, has an end itself
- Effortlessness and ease
- There is a balance between challenge and skills
- Actions and awareness are merged, losing self-conscious rumination
- There is a feeling of control over the task
What are the necessary conditions for reaching Flow?
- Rich Environments: Varied, Changing. Basically being subjected to something new and different. The same-old, same-old is probably not going to do it.
- Deep Embodiment. Using the whole person, and many skill sets.
- High Consequences, Risk. (You will look like an idiot if you fail.)
So, How do I conjure this Flow if the conditions are right?
Again, depends on what kind of Flow Profile you are:
- The Hard Charger:
You tend to be a focused go-getter who craves intensity in your personal and professional life. You get bored easily with “run of the mill” and seek experiences that have high challenge and high impact. When you learn a new skill, you often seek out accelerated training from the best of the best, or you put your head down and hyperfocus until you figure it out yourself–either way, “slow and steady” middle-of-the-pack progress is not for you.
2. The Deep Thinker:
While you can tolerate and even succeed in the hustle and bustle of daily life, a part of you is always off in your sanctuary, or biding your time until you can return to recharge your batteries. You may also find yourself seeking out times of day–early mornings or late evenings–where you can feel free of conflicting demands and get that uninterrupted concentration you thrive on.
3. The Flow Goer:
Alright–out of all the Flow Profiles, you’re the Flowiest! And by that, we don’t mean that you actually have more Flow than everyone else, but your life, your attitude, your activities, hell, even your clothing–all reinforce to yourself and others, that being in Flow is a central part of who you are. You’ve done some soul-searching to get here too–either taking the road less traveled from the get go, or burning out in the Rat Race and bravely rebuilding a second act that’s more aligned for you.
4. The Crowd Pleaser:
You’re most at home in the thick of it–hanging with friends, going to the big game, concerts, conferences, and anywhere you can thrive on the energy and inspiration of interacting with others. You typically find your Flow lost in the moment in the company of friends and like-minded folks. A classic extrovert, you gain a charge from intense events, but unlike your Hard Charging Flow cousin, that intensity for you comes more from the power of the shared experience than from the risks involved.
Seriously, Take the Quiz to learn more about your strengths and weaknesses in accessing your state of flow
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the secret to happiness
- Book Anna and Jess are reading:
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
- Christian’s Distraction Solution: 6 apps to stop your smart phone addiction
- Another book by Csikszentmihalyi:
- Pomodoro Technique:
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Do you have any super memorable moments of being in a state of Flow?
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