Every person has experienced a state of flow in a lifetime—the feeling of evenness between your body and psyche, where you are consumed by something past the distraction point and focused on it. It feels as if the time has slowed down, and the senses are enhanced. When action and perception align to build an easy drive, you are at one with the task at hand. A few people portray this inclination as being “in the zone.” This is the state of relaxation, whether you’re occupied with physical activity, a creative endeavour, or even a normal day-to-day task.
What is the state of flow?
Dr Csikszentmihalyi gave a TED Talk in 2004 in which he states that the sensory system is unable to handle more than 110 bits per second of information. When you hear someone talking, you need to process about 60 bits of information per second to comprehend what they’re saying. This is the reason if two individuals are conversing with you simultaneously, you can’t listen to both of them and comprehend what both are stating.
He, at that point, proceeds to clarify that when you’re engaged in creating something new, there’s not enough time left over to track how your body feels—the fact that you’re hungry or tired—or listening to your chattering mind.
“I developed a theory of optimal experience based on the concept of flow—the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it” —Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Flow can be described as being one with the task you are doing, absolute immersion in a chore with complete focus and forgetting the outside world.
Indeed, maintaining a flow state is something that many of us would like to do regularly. Thankfully, flow isn’t just for elite athletes, singers, and performers. You may gain this status through several activities such as working, exercising, or engaging in a hobby. So, what does it take to reach a state of flow?
- Suitable Skills According to the Goal
According to Csikszentmihalyi, when your skills are well-matched with your goal’s challenge, you are likely to experience the state of Flow. So, a runner may feel Flow during a marathon that he or she is well-prepared for, a student answering a question for which he/she was well-prepared for, or a chess player may enter this state during a game that poses the ideal challenge. In other words, practise, knowledge, and expertise in activity will likely activate the Flow state.
- Enhancing Skills Can Help You Achieve the Flow
A small expansion of your skills, or trying something a little more advanced than your current skills, can also foster a flow state. For a dancer, this may mean like doing a leap of faith jump that is a challenge. It may involve taking on a task that requires the use of a new and different tool or software package, depending on the job at hand. Concentrate on adding new difficulties on a routine basis. This will enable you to enhance your skills, and you can find the condition of flow more easily.
- Set Clear Goals
To focus on the task, you need to have a specific goal, such as winning an athletic competition, learning a particular piece of music, or completing an office task. Participation alone is insufficient. Individuals who often reach flow are often inspired to perform those acts for the personal intrinsic value alone, when their goals are aligned to the purpose, passion, and values. Goals with a sense of these three elements motivate you and fill your life with fulfilment at the end of the day.
- Avoid Distractions
Devoting all of your attention to the task at hand is critical. The flow state will be interrupted by multitasking and other interruptions. Allot a space and set aside some time to enable you to work on a project without being intruded or disturbed. Turn off your phone, TV, or other gadgets that may pull you away from the primary goal.
- Enjoy the moment, and do not worry about the result.
While having a goal is significant, the flow state requires appreciating the process and not merely focusing on the final result. Enable yourself to live in the moment without stressing an over the outcome.
Achieving flow can be a pleasurable encounter, yet it might have different advantages, too. Research suggests that flow’s advantages include enhanced skill development and enhanced execution. Becoming more professional and knowledgeable in a job will help improve your self-esteem in this area and give you a boost in self-confidence associated with those skills.