What is Flow & why would anyone want to find it?

The psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has studied the concept of flow and written several books about it including: Flow, Finding Flow, & Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention.

According to Csikszentmaihalyi, ” flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. In flow the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand. To be caught in the ennui of depression or the agitation of anxiety is to be barred from flow. The hallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task.

In addition flow occurs when the task at hand is challenging enough to stretch a person’s skill level.  The flowing diagram depicts the relationship between challenge and skill.

In life we are all seeking flow and can recall some time when we have lost track of time when we are immersed in an activity that has taken all our attention.  For each of us finding flow is different – a balance between our unique talents, skills and challenges.  The question is how do we find flow in our daily lives?