Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is one of the world’s leading researchers studying the science of well-being. He co-founded the Positive Psychology movement with Martin Seligman and has written landmark books on Creativity and Flow.
After surveying thousands of people, Mihaly was able to shine some light on that elusive state in which we’re at our best. In fact, he’s the one who coined the word “Flow.”
Here’s the basic idea:
Imagine drawing two lines. On the x axis we have our Skill level. On the y axis we have our Challenge level.
If the Challenge is high but your Skill is low, what will you experience? ANXIETY.
On the other hand, if your Skill is high, but the Challenge is low, what will you experience? BOREDOM.
Now, what if your Skill level matches the Challenge? Enter: FLOW.
So, Today’s +1: A quick inventory.
Are you feeling Bored? Increase the level of Challenge. (For example, if you’re doing a mundane, repetitive task, see how flawlessly you can do it or how quickly or both!)
Feeling Anxious? Decrease the Challenge a bit and/or increase your Skill.
Want to feel more Flow? Bring more awareness to the whole process, set a goal that focuses your attention (that is ALWAYS the first step, btw!!), eliminate distractions (Go Deep!!), and allow yourself to be fully immersed in the experience.