Quick Definition: Another description of being “in state”. Flow also refers to the feeling a person gets when she/he is fully immersed in what they are doing (Mihály Csíkszentmihályi).
In his research book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (henceforth noted as MC for simplicity) identifies the following 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).
- Concentrating and focusing, 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.
- 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.
Flow by MC:
When I am in flow, I am not consciously aware of my own ego.
Source: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi