After watching Martin Seligman's lecture on positive psychology I decided to look into what he meant by the term "Flow". The concept of flow was proposed by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi as a state in which someone is fully immersed in an experience with the feeling of spontaneous joy. In flow one is focus motivated and experiences the moment fully without thinking about the future or the past. Some examples of flow include a musician in an improvisation solo, an athlete being in the zone, a child playing video games, or a doctor of physics solving a complicated math problem.
To achieve flow it is important to find an activity challenging enough without being anxiety producing and easy enough to not find boring and mundane. If there is a right balance one will experience flow and gradually become better at the activity. An example of this is when learning a sport such as tennis it is better to play against people who are near your skill level. If one constantly loses to more experienced players they will likely give up out of frustration. Another example of this is when learning a new mathematical concept. Someone attempting to learn calculus without previous knowledge of algebra will likely give up to the challenge while a doctor in physics may find elementary math boring.
Most people during their lives have experienced flow. My most fulfilling experiences of flow have been on stage acting in my high school plays. While performing I was neither bored or stressed and felt completely present with a heightened sense of awareness. It would be best for people to find were they experience this state to live a more fulfilling and joyful life.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Flow and motivation
Posted by Joshua Witmer at 9:12 PM
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I completely understand what your saying. I find that I am in a state of flow when immersing myself in creative writing exercises. It is one act that I do where I am fully present. I cherish every opportunity where I can engage and I really wish I was able to experience it more.ReplyDelete