Flow is the mental state of operation inwhich a person in an activity is fullyimmersed in a feeling of energized focus,full involvement, and success in theprocess of the activity
EtymologyFlow is so named because during Csíkszentmihályis1975 interviews several people described their “Flow"experiences using the metaphor of a water currentcarrying them along. The psychological concept of flowas becoming absorbed in an activity is thus unrelated tothe older phrase, go with the flow.
Flow is completely focused MotivationIt is a single minded immersion and representsperhaps the ultimate in harnessing the emotionsin the service of performing and learning. In flow,the emotions are not just contained andchanneled, but positive, energized, and alignedwith the task at hand.The theory of flow was greatly used in the theories of Maslow and Rogers intheir development of the humanistic tradition of psychology.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND“Flow” has been experienced throughout history andacross cultures. The teachings of Buddhism and Taoismspeak of a state of mind known as the "action of inaction"or "doing without doing" that greatly resembles the ideaof flow. Also Indian texts on Advaita philosophy suchAshtavakra Gita and the Yoga of Knowledge such asBhagavad-Gita refer to this similar state.
Components of flow Clear Goals (expectations and rules are discernible and goals are attainable and align appropriately with ones skill set and abilities). Concentration Distorted sense of time (ones subjective experience of Time is altered). Direct and immediate feedback
Continued Balance between ability level and challenge A sense of personal control over the situation or activity. Action awareness merging. (Absorption into the activity, narrowing of the focus of awareness down to the activity itself).
Benefits of FlowFlow is an innately positive experienceit is known to "produce intense feelings ofenjoyment”.It allows for optimal performance and skillDevelopment.
CONTINUEDFlow also has a strong correlation with the further development ofskills and personal growth. When one is in a flow state, he or she isworking to master the activity at hand. To maintain that flow state,one must seek increasingly greater challenges. Attempting thesenew, difficult challenges stretches ones skills. One emerges fromsuch a flow experience with a bit of personal growth and great"feelings of competence and efficacy".Further, flow is positively correlated with a higher subsequentmotivation to perform and to perform well.