Finding Flow...and happiness
What is flow? In a 2004 Ted Talk from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi he asked, "What makes a life worth living?" Noting that money cannot make us happy, he looked to those who find pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring about a state of "flow."
Per the Flow Genome Project - "Flow is the peak performance state where you feel your best and you perform your best. The good news is it’s hackable."
Some people would refer to flow state as an athlete "being in the zone" or when you find yourself being incredibly creative and coming up with new ideas. Chances are you've experienced a flow state whether it's through exercise, music, social interaction or at times while riding a bike.
How does it feel to be in flow? Thousands of people were interviewed by Dr. Csikszentmihalyi and his team in order to identify the key components of flow state. The below seven points summarize how people responded about how they felt when in the flow state:
- You’re completely involved in what you’re doing: you’re completely focused and concentrated.
- There’s a sense of ecstasy–of being outside of everyday reality.
- There’s a great inner clarity: you know what needs to be done and you get immediate feedback on how well you’re doing.
- You know that the activity is doable, that you have the necessary skills to complete the task successfully.
- You lose your sense of self and all of your worries and concerns drift away.
- You lose track of time and you’re completely focused on the present moment.
- There’s an intrinsic motivation—whatever produces flow becomes it’s own reward.
Interestingly enough, the idea of flow came into being as result of research on happiness. Researchers began asking themselves: “What makes us happy?” and “When are we most happy”? As a result of this research psychologists realized that being able to enter the flow state–which is a very enjoyable experience–is a key component of happiness.
Dive into the Flow Genome project and hack your flow state. You can even take build your own "Flow Profile" for free.