Flow (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi) Discussion: Led by Kevin Harris

FlowFlow is a timeless state of consciousness where the skill of the participant is perfectly matched to the challenge at hand.

  1. A challenging activity requiring skills: The challenge must match the capabilities of the person. Competition might generate this state, but if the goal simply becomes to beat the other player, flow might not be achieved.
  2. The merging of action and awareness: People in flow report merging with the activity they are doing.
  3. Clear Goals and Feedback: Trivial goals don’t matter, sitting on your couch and surviving is not interesting enough. In general, immediate feedback is best. What’s interesting is that people report going into a state of flow by doing creative acts or shopping. What is required is personalyl set goals and achiving them.
  4. Concentrating on the task at hand: Memory of past events fades away, ability to plan is inhibited. Self <-> Attention <-> Enviroment. It is coming from an information processing view, describing where the brain is putting it’s attention.
  5. Paradox of Control: It’s about exercising control in a difficult situation, demonstrating that you are in control. This means the activity has a doubtful outcome. It also requires the ability to change that outcome. There are also two kinds of danger: objective and subjective. Objective dangers are more random, Subjective dangers relate more to the participant. Gambling is an example of the paradox of control. They think they are in control, but actually are simply addicted.
  6. The loss of self-consciousness: Not loosing yourself, but loosing perception of yourself.
  7. The transformation of Time: Time elongates and stretches. Interviews with dancers show that a 1/4 second spin may feel like 30 seconds.
  8. The Autotelic Experience: Anything can bring you to a state of flow as long as the choice to participate is voluntary.

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