Sunday, March 9, 2008


In the mid-1970s, in an attempt to explain happiness,Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi,
a professor of psychology
at the Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA, introduced the concept of Flow, which has since become fundamental to the field of
positive psychology, including the study, according to Wikipedia, of “happiness, creativity, subjective well-being, and fun.

Flow is so named because during Csíkszentmihályi's 1975 interviews several people described their 'flow' experiences using the metaphor of a current carrying them along. The psychological concept of flow as becoming absorbed in an activity is thus unrelated to the older phrase "to go with the flow" which means "to conform"

” Flow represents the feeling of complete and energized focus in an activity,
with a
high level of enjoyment and fulfillment".

During the Flow experience, we lose track of time and worries.
Indeed, our level of focus maximizes our performance in and pleasurable feelings from
the activity. Flow is also called the optimal experience,or being in “the Zone.” Though often associated with professional athletes and artists, it is a feeling shared by every human being. Recall being so engaged in something that you forget to eat or sleep. What made you feel that way?

Csikszentmihalyi’s research and personal observations identified eight major components of Flow:
• A challenging activity requiring skill;
• A merging of action and awareness;
• Clear goals;
• Direct, immediate feedback;
• Concentration on the task at hand;
• A sense of control;
• A loss of self-consciousness; and
• An altered sense of time.
Not all of them are needed, however, for an activity or technology to give users the experience of Flow .

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