The Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi FLOW story

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Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi a professor at the University of Chicago cites similar findings in his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.

He suggests that Flow – a state of concentration so focused that it amounts to absolute absorption in an activity – can be controlled by balancing challenges and skills.

When a challenge is much higher than the skill we bring to it, we experience overwhelm. When our skill level is much higher than the challenge, we experience boredom. There is a place between overwhelm and boredom that Csikszentmihalyi calls the “flow channel”. A task that would fall in the flow channel would be one which you would find challenging, but you are confident that your skills are sufficient to meet the challenge.

It is possible to optimise the potential for flow. Learning to get to the flow channel is both achievable and rewarding

It could be that a task itself is not an overwhelming challenge, but the timetable attached to it is. Is there a way to change the time requirements? Or if a job feels overwhelming, is there a way to chunk down the task so that each part is the right size to balance challenge and skill?

Alternatively, is there a way to increase the challenge when you are faced with a job that could be boring?

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