“Like a graceful vase, a cat, even when motionless, seems to flow.” — George F. Will
You have either had the experience or heard about it: Flow has been in the global consciousness since Mihaly Csikszentmihaly’s book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience was released 35 years ago. Back then it was revolutionary, now it is woven into our popular language and culture. We’ve heard about it, read about it, and want it in our lives.
But what is flow? It is a very enjoyable experience marked by a sense of timelessness and engagement. In his own words, Csikszentmihaly said it is “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”
Once we have experienced a flow moment in our lives we usually crave it happening again. We all want to be in the zone, in the groove, and over the years researchers have determined the conditions under which flow happens.