Positive Psychology co-founder Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is best known for his Flow Theory. This is when you are engaged in a task that uses your gifts while challenging your skills. In a moment of flow, you may forget to get up, go to the washroom or even eat. You are fully invested in something that brings you happiness and peace.
The chart above explains what you need to get in the flow. If the challenge is above your skill level you become anxious. If you have the skill but the challenge is small you are relaxed. If both skill and challenge are low you are apathetic. And if both are high you find yourself in the flow. The place we all want to be.
Csikszentmihalyi said, “The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times. The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”
The flow resides outside comfort zones. Because we have to be willing to challenge our skills and once we do, we will be rewarded.
What opportunities exist in our job, our side hustle, our health journey, our committee work, or our community activism where we can attempt to find our flow? As we start the first chapter in a new year and a fresh decade, what is the best way we can flow and grow?