Flow - Deepstash
Flow

Boon 's Key Ideas from Flow
by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Ideas, facts & insights covering these topics:

33 ideas

·

18.8K reads

65

Explore the World's Best Ideas

Join today and uncover 100+ curated journeys from 50+ topics. Unlock access to our mobile app with extensive features.

Introduction

Introduction

  • Flow is a state of total immersion while doing an activity. Flow comes from the intense concentration around your own actions and their immediate feedback. Think of a painter who carefully observes how straight his lines are or the accuracy of his colors. Think of a chess player who eagerly awaits his opponents move, all the while planning his own. Most of us only associate this state of flow with certain activities. However, it's possible to turn all aspects of our lives into a unified, flow experience. In doing so you can significantly improve your productivity and create a happier life.

185

1.47K reads

The Conditions Required to Enter a Flow State

The Conditions Required to Enter a Flow State

  • The most crucial element of entering a flow state is to have clarity in your goals. This requires you always have a purpose for what you are doing. Hence, to enter a flow state you must think of step-by-step goals rather than the overarching goals. Although the overarching goal is check-mate, you should focus on how to clear a particular space or take your opponent's pieces.

199

1.33K reads

  • Some activities are more prone to flow. We enjoy games because they naturally make us lose ourselves in the micro-objectives. However, things get messier in our everyday lives. It is hard for us to keep track of our day-to-day goals as we deal with the minutiae of life. The best way around this is to give yourself goals for every activity you do. This integrates the activity into the rest of your life and gives it meaning along the way.

182

989 reads

The Importance of Feedback

The Importance of Feedback

  • Feedback is crucial element of flow since it engages us through results. This allows us to learn and improve as we continue with our activities. Some tasks are not enjoyable because their feedback isn't immediately apparent, so they don't give us a sense of growth or learning
  • One way of making these activities fun and engaging is to turn into games. For instance, you can try to fold your clothes quicker by trying new techniques. You should no longer find them as uninteresting as they used to be.

179

887 reads

"Control of consciousness determines the Quality of Life."

MIHALY CSIKSZENTMIHALYI

183

1.29K reads

The Four Ways Flow Helps Your Life

The Four Ways Flow Helps Your Life

  • The transformational process of integrating flow into your life will help you in four ways
  1. Flow teaches you how to control your inner self. Control over attention, mood and willpower
  2. You'll be able to enter a flow state in everyday situations, even during challenging periods.
  3. You will develop an increasingly complex self. After each minor challenge you overcome, you'll want to move on to a more complex one. This development gives you more opportunity to learn
  4. Flow will restructure your life, Your days won't be composed of merely self-repeating episodes of work, leisure and other tasks.

178

783 reads

The Major Components of Flow

The Major Components of Flow

  • Flow has eight major components as identified by composers, rock climbers, painters, surgeons, programmers and other people who experience it.

169

850 reads

Each Action Must Have a Goal or Purpose

Each Action Must Have a Goal or Purpose

  • When singing a song,a musician knows precisely what notes he must play. A painter knows where his next brush must touch the painting. A writer knows what his next words must communicate to his readers.
  • Similarly, our day-to-day activities should have their own immediate goals. Otherwise they appear meaningless to us. These goals help us track our progress in life and offer something tangible as feedback for our actions.

178

731 reads

Measure Your Progress by Looking for Feedback

Measure Your Progress by Looking for Feedback

  • Feedback helps us measure the impact of our actions. A pool player who misses a shot knows he should change position or how he holds the cue. Following the feedback trail of an activity induces a person into a flow state. Each observation and reaction teaches people what works and what doesn't.
  • Concentration without feedback is problematic since you don't know if what you are doing is worthwhile or meaningful. So, your attention and craving for feedback gets hijacked by whatever else is near you. This process leads to boredom or mental distraction.

174

614 reads

MIHALY CSIKSZENTMIHALYI

“Most enjoyable activities are not natural; they demand an effort that initially one is reluctant to make. But once the interaction starts to provide feedback to the person's skills, it usually begins to be intrinsically rewarding.”

MIHALY CSIKSZENTMIHALYI

180

642 reads

The Challenges of the Activity Must Not Overwhelm the Skill of the Person

  • A Game of Chess is only fun if both players are at a similar skill level. If the opponent is much better, then the game feels frustrating. If the adversary is too weak, the game becomes tiresome. The same principle applies to work and other activities. Alternatively, if the challenge matches your skill, it eventually becomes interesting and enjoyable.

174

563 reads

The Feeling of Focus and Concentration on What You are Doing

The Feeling of Focus and Concentration on What You are Doing

  • During our daily lives, we tend to split our attention in multiple directions. To experience flow, however you must direct your focus and concentration towards a single activity. This single tasking feels good and is a rewarding experience since it does not overwhelm our minds with other issues.

176

556 reads

Flow Cuts You Off From Your Day-to-Day Problems and Stress

Flow Cuts You Off From Your Day-to-Day Problems and Stress

  • During a flow experience, we temporarily lose track of problems and hardships. After all, you cannot worry about mundane issues while playing a video game or painting a picture. If you shifted away to your troubles, you would scatter your attention and make mistakes in your activity. In a way, a flow experience is an escape from reality and a significant source of relief.

172

527 reads

Flow Gives You a Sense of Control

Flow Gives You a Sense of Control

  • Flow gives you a sense of control over your activities that can extend over your entire life. Importantly, it's not a total sense of control, since that would mean your skills far exceed the challenges of your tasks and activities. Instead, during flow, you feel a sense of control right at the edge of your capabilities.

172

474 reads

Flow Silences Your Inner Voice or Self-Consciousness.

Flow Silences Your Inner Voice or Self-Consciousness.

  • Once you enter into flow, you lose track of what other people think of you. You are no longer self-conscious about what you do or how ridiculous it might seem to others. This has the major benefit of freeing up mental resources to concentrate on the task. Team activities tend to bring you into this state. At the height of the flow state, you no longer feel like an individual but more as an integral component of the entire team.

174

433 reads

Sense of Time Becomes Distorted

Sense of Time Becomes Distorted

  • Flow changes your perception of time because it adapts to your experience. More often than not, it will seem as if the activity took far less time than it actually did.

172

453 reads

MIHALY CSIKSZENTMIHALYI

“To overcome the anxieties and depressions of contemporary life, individuals must become independent of the social environment to the degree that they no longer respond exclusively in terms of its rewards and punishments. To achieve such autonomy, a person has to learn to provide rewards to herself. She has to develop the ability to find enjoyment and purpose regardless of external circumstances.”

MIHALY CSIKSZENTMIHALYI

181

437 reads

What is the Difference Between Pleasure & Enjoyment?

What is the Difference Between Pleasure & Enjoyment?

  • Flow activities bring you to a state of enjoyment, but not necessarily one of pleasure. Pleasure is a biological response and functions as our body's way of telling us if what we are doing is valuable for our survival. Food and sex are the quintessential pleasures
  • Pleasure doesn't lead to personal growth. Pleasure can be deceiving since it can lead us to addiction or focusing our lives around basic instincts like food & Sex
  • However a happy life can't be achieved by merely having many isolated flow experiences. To do this you need to master of your consciousness & personality.

179

443 reads

The Five Characteristics and Traits of a Complex & Autotelic Personality

The Five Characteristics and Traits of a Complex & Autotelic Personality

  • Activities that generate flow are called Autotelic. The word comes from the Greek terms "Auto" which means self, and "telos" which means purpose.
  • An autotelic activity is one which you do for its own sake, without seeking an external reward. However, some people can turn every activity into a flow. These people have what's called an autotelic personality. An autotelic personality isn't something a person is born with, but it's nurtured.

176

430 reads

1. Clarity of Purpose, Goals and Feedback

1. Clarity of Purpose, Goals and Feedback

  • On a large scale, this means you have set your ambitions and desires in life. But on a smaller scale, it means you have goals and purposes for every activity that you engage in.
  • The other dimension is the clarity of feedback. This allows you to view the world objectively, without falling prey to fallacies to protect your beliefs. Clarity of feedback opens you to advice and criticism, which allows you to improve yourself.

172

388 reads

2. The Ability to Center

2. The Ability to Center

  • This is the ability to focus and clamp down on a single goal and give it your all. It means clearing your mind and focusing your energy, concentration and attention on a single point.

172

400 reads

3. Always Having a Choice

3. Always Having a Choice

  • This is the awareness that you always have a choice in what you do. Complex and demanding choices aren't forced upon you. People with autotelic personalities don't feel trapped in difficult situations. They know their choices lead to these situations, So they own up to the consequences or benefits.

171

373 reads

4. Commitment to a Chosen Activity

4. Commitment to a Chosen Activity

  • People with complex personalities care about all they do and commit themselves. They actively involve themselves in the activity. They will engage with these activities because they genuinely want to.

171

377 reads

5. Challenge Seeking

5. Challenge Seeking

  • People with complex personalities are always ready to expand their personalities and skills by taking on new challenges and learning along the way. They explore new concepts and try new things frequently.

171

364 reads

How Psychic Entropy Leads to Boredom, Anxiety and Stress

Consciousness Is How You Experience Things

  • Activities like driving a car or lying your shoelaces are only possible by paying attention to them. But our attention has limits, which makes it difficult to concentrate on too many activities at once. When your mind is overwhelmed by too many problems, it enters a state of disarry. In this state your thoughts swirl and prevent you from focusing on the most important goals you have
  • This phenomenon is called psychic entropy. It's the process in which our minds want to go in one direction but our bodies in another, as you can't satisfy most of your goals

175

362 reads

  • By clearing your mind of other thoughts and concern you allow yourself to concentrate on one activity. Subsequently you can fully engage with it and enter a peaceful and serene state of flow that is more efficient and enjoyable.

169

350 reads

Understanding Boredom & Anxiety

  • The two mental states most commonly associated with psychic entropy are boredom and anxiety. Working while engaged in these states feels like a chore and an uphill battle
  • Boredom has two primary causes, The first one is an insufficiently challenging task. Here your skills and abilities far exceed the tasks difficulty, so it feels like you aren't learning. The second cause is insufficient feedback. Insufficient feedback provides the sensation that what you are doing doesn't matter and has no impact on the world around you

175

344 reads

  • Anxiety is an en tropic psychological state that emerges when you are overwhelmed by too many tasks or tasks out of your skill level. At this point you aren't in control of your consciousness and feel like decisions are made for you. You can't focus on the required goals.

174

344 reads

"Most enjoyable activities are not natural; they demand an effort that initially one is reluctant to make. But once the interaction starts to provide feedback to the person's skills, it usually begins to be intrinsically rewarding."

MIHALY CSIKSZENTMIHALYI

173

338 reads

Avoid Boredom & Anxiety By Doing Things For Their Own Sake

Avoid Boredom & Anxiety By Doing Things For Their Own Sake

  • Finding enjoyment requires you to be connected with whats going on around you. You must find new things to do, and act upon any opportunity that might lead to personal growth. Seek to develop your passions and hobbies. For instance, if you like plants then try to take up gardening. Alternatively, if you like money then learn how to set up your own business
  • Despite this you shouldn't think about external rewards. Do not start a company because you want to be wealthy. Do these activities because you enjoy doing them. For E.g. Practice a musical instrument because you enjoy playing music. 

177

318 reads

Flow and Its Relationship With Stress

Flow and Its Relationship With Stress

  • At its core, stress is a survival mechanism designed to keep you alive in difficult moments. Major stress sources are widespread. These stressful experience can also lead to high psychic entropy. Stress prevents you from concentrating on a single objective. This blocks you from immersing your life into a flow experience and experiencing it as a harmonious experience. 
  • However, stress isn't always automatic. Its a reaction to external threats. There are ways we can control these external sources of stress and how they impact us.

171

301 reads

Un-selfconscious Self- Assurance

Un-selfconscious Self- Assurance

  • The ability of flow to disconnect you from the world, its worries and troubles make it a powerful tool in managing stress. However, some stressful experience are too powerful to be ignored or fade into the background. One method of preventing a stressful experience from breaking our flow is to detach from it and think objectively
  • The best way to detach from stress is to be self-assured and confident in your skills.
  • Imagine driving on the road with heavy traffic. A skilled driver will not be worried by the required twists, turns and overtakes. A novice driver will experience stress

174

290 reads

 Autotelic Personality

Autotelic Personality

  • An autotelic personality can transform even the most impossible and traumatic situation into something that can be managed. Also an autotelic personality helps you enjoy the grind and minutiae of daily life.

175

334 reads

IDEAS CURATED BY

boon

The Man with a 'WHY' can conquer any 'HOW'

CURATOR'S NOTE

FLOW which is defined as being completely absorbed in an activity. This book examines how people can achieve flow and its positive effects on their lives. It also looks at how individuals can use it to bring out their best potential.

Curious about different takes? Check out our Flow Summary book page to explore multiple unique summaries written by Deepstash users.

Different Perspectives Curated by Others from Flow

Curious about different takes? Check out our book page to explore multiple unique summaries written by Deepstash curators:

Flow

8 ideas

Flow

1 idea

Flow

53 ideas

Read & Learn

20x Faster

without
deepstash

with
deepstash

with

deepstash

Personalized microlearning

100+ Learning Journeys

Access to 200,000+ ideas

Access to the mobile app

Unlimited idea saving

Unlimited history

Unlimited listening to ideas

Downloading & offline access

Supercharge your mind with one idea per day

Enter your email and spend 1 minute every day to learn something new.

Email

I agree to receive email updates