8 flow components - do you have these?

💌 Newsletter

Reading the classic 'Flow' by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is like stumbling on a gold-mine of practical insights.

It feels selfish to keep them to myself, so let me digest a few core nuggets that have helped me and the people around me.

First, why care about 'flow'?

Well, getting into flow is a reliable, documented, researched route to enjoyment. Not the Netflix-kind of passive satisfaction, but active, engaged enjoyment that feels enriching.

We lose a sense of time and space, and after the flow experience we feel and know that we've grown in some way.

What is flow, in a nutshell? It's an experience of ordered consciousness, directed at an activity that is challenging and demands our full attention and ability.

There are typically 8 components present in a flow experience:

1. Challenging activity that requires skill

2. Concentration

3. Clear goals

4. Immediate feedback

5. Deep involvement that removes from awareness other, everyday worries

6. Opportunity to exercise a sense of control:

“what people enjoy is not the sense of being in control, but the sense of exercising control in difficult situations. It is not possible to experience a feeling of control unless one is willing to give up the safety of protective routines. Only when a doubtful outcome is at stake, and one is able to influence that outcome, can a person really know whether she is in control.” P. 61

7. Concern for self disappears yet emerges stronger after the experience is over:

“When not preoccupied with our selves, we actually have a chance to expand the concept of who we are. Loss of self-consciousness can lead to self-transcendence, to a feeling that the boundaries of our being have been pushed forward.” P. 64

8. Sense of duration of time is changed

Why not use it as a checklist? 👆

To make sense of the activities that you enjoy, or to design activities for more flow.

If I'm writing too much about flow, please let me know by replying 😄

If you're enjoying it or find it valuable, I'll share more in the next weeks, e.g. about:

3 steps to turn adversity into an enjoyable challenge, or:

Why being in politics is the biggest (potential) flow you can imagine.

p.s. 👇 below, find the latest podcast, what I'm currently reading/listening to and my favourite quote this week

🎙️ My latest podcast

Christopher Gudacker - Leading in a party, change, convictions, and habits
About my guest Christopher Gudacker runs for co-leadership of Volt Europa. We discuss a range of topics, from balancing work with political volunteering and private life, to what it means to change and what should stay stable over time. Christopher also shares his take on habits to be an effective

📚 What I read & listen to

Hannah Arendt's account of Adolf Eichmann's trial in Jerusalem is gloomy, heavy and enlightening at the same time. It's an insight into the human and social psychology of a major organiser of the Holocaust. The premise is troubling and serious: while the outcome is from hell, the psychology, circumstances, justifications can and must be understood, because they are latent and a potential all around and inside of us.

Eichmann in Jerusalem
‘Brilliant and disturbing’ Stephen Spender, New York Review of Books The classic work on ‘the banality of evil’, and a journalistic masterpiece Hannah Arendt’s stunning and unnverving report on the trial of Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann first appeared as a series of articles in the New Yorker in 1963…