Flow ….

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Another great post from Don Blohowiak at Leadership. Now., August 15th 2005

“In his classic book Flow:The Psychology of Optimal Experience, psychologist Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi provides an unintended but remarkably useful lesson on workplace productivity.


Dr. Csikszentmihalyi notes that when people reflect on their most positive experiences they “mention at least one, and often all,” of the following attributes:

  • The experience usually occurs when they confront tasks they have a chance of completing
  • They are able to concentrate on what they’re doing
  • The task has clear goals
  • They receive immediate feedback
  • They can act with a deep but effortless involvement that removes from theirawareness the worries and frustrations of everyday life
  • They can exercise a sense of control over their actions
  • Concern for the self disappears, yet, paradoxically, the sense of self emerges stronger after the flow experience is over
  • Time sense is distorted: hours pass in what seems like minutes and minutes can stretch out to seem like hours.

“The combination of all these elements,” Dr. Csikszentmihalyi observes, “causes a sense of deep enjoyment that is so rewarding people feel that expending a great deal of energy is worthwhile simply to be able to feel it.”

If you’re a golf lover, you could use this list to explain why you enjoy such a challenging game.

If you’re a manager, try using this as a checklist to assess whether you’re providing the conditions for your associates to do their best work and to become so thoroughly engaged in it that they want to do it.

Get flow flowing in your workplace and watch both morale and profits flow better, too.”

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Me? I write about this as Samurai driving … the time when you drive from one end of the trip to another without messing a gear change, braking hard or even really thinking – Zen in a car.