Like water, we have the ability to accept the moment as it comes and give it our full attention
What are the Attributes of Flow?Experts recognize nine attributes of flow. If you experience several of these attributes, you are probably experiencing flow.
- Clear goals are set for the task at hand.
- Deep concentration and focus on the task at hand, often to the exclusion of other things in your environment.
- Feeling like you have lost self-consciousness. Instead of thinking about what youre doing, you seem to move immediately into action.
- Your sense of time will be distorted. You might work for hours without noticing how much time has gone by.
- Immediate feedback from the results of your actions so that you can adjust accordingly.
- The task at hand has to match your skill level. If its too easy or hard, then people tend to get irritated by boredom or lack of progress.
- Feeling that you have control over the situation.
- Your actions are effortless and rewarding in themselves.
- You are completely absorbed in what youre going.
People who work with lots of numbers, like mathematicians and stock traders, often experience flow when they are concentrating on a large task. You can also use flow in your daily interactions with others. Being in the moment helps you communicate better, notice things that would usually escape you and react immediately to the stimuli in your environment because you are not distracted. It can also lead to insights that you never would have developed intentionally.
Can I Experience Flow?A sudden trauma or prolonged period of difficulty in your life can make it difficult to get back into the flow of things because you feel so disconnected from yourself and the world. You dont have to experience all nine of the attributes, though, to experience flow. Nearly anyone can rebound from negative experiences and experience flow again by focusing on things that they enjoy doing, practicing and learning to let go of conscious effort.
Recommended Books about FlowMihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a psychology researcher and professor, is the preeminent authority on the concept of flow. Several of his books target non-professionals. Some of the best include the following:
- Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
- Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement in Everyday Life
- Good Business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning