According to Csikszentmihalyi, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate experience in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. In flow, the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand. To be caught in the ennui of depression or the agitation of anxiety is to be barred from flow. The hallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task although flow is also described (below) as a deep focus on nothing but the activity – not even oneself or one's emotions.
Flow has many of the same characteristics as (the positive aspects of) hyperfocus. However, hyperfocus is not always described in such universally glowing terms. For examples, some cases of spending "too much" time playing video games, or of getting side-tracked and pleasurably absorbed by one aspect of an assignment or task to the detriment of the assignment in general. In some cases, hyperfocus can "grab" a person, perhaps causing him or her to appear unfocused or to start several projects, but complete few.
Colloquial terms for this or similar mental states include: to be in the moment, present, in the zone, on a roll, wired in, in the groove, on fire, in tune, centered, singularly focused, or going beast mode. ... continue reading>>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology%29
Part psychological study, part self-help book, Finding Flow is a prescriptive guide that helps us reclaim ownership of our lives. Based on a far-reaching study of thousands of individuals, Finding Flow contends that we often walk through our days unaware and out of touch with our emotional lives. Our inattention makes us constantly bounce between two extremes: during much of the day we live filled with the anxiety and pressures of our work and obligations, while during our leisure moments, we tend to live in passive boredom. The key, according to Csikszentmihalyi, is to challenge ourselves with tasks requiring a high degree of skill and commitment. Instead of watching television, play the piano. Transform a routine task by taking a different approach. In short, learn the joy of complete engagement. Thought they appear simple, the lessons in Finding Flow are life-altering.
Finding Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – Summary
Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi begins his new work by returning us to one of the ancient Greeks' favorite questions: How can we live a good, or excellent, life? How can we live full, serene, useful lives where we express our uniqueness, participate fully in the complexity of the cosmos, and waste little of our time or potential?
The great point of this book, then, is to urge us to become conscious of how we spend our time so that we can maximize motivation, concentration, happiness, and especially flow. Although we are limited by the human condition and the social and cultural categories that we find ourselves in, "there is enough room for personal initiative and choice to make a real difference." Unfortunately, the author says, "there are no gimmicks, no easy shortcuts. It takes a total commitment to a fully experienced life, one in which no opportunities are left unexplored and no potential undeveloped, to achieve excellence." ... read more>> http://www.enlightenment.com/media/bookrevs/findflow.html
Short of making such a dramatic switch, there are many ways to make one's job produce flow. A supermarket clerk who pays genuine attention to customers, a physician concerned about the total well-being of patients, or a news reporter who considers truth at least as important as sensational interest when writing a story, can transform a routine job into one that makes a difference. Turning a dull jot into one that satisfies our need for novelty and achievement involves paying close attention to each step involved, and then asking: Is this step necessary? Can it be done better, faster, more efficiently? What additional steps could make my contribution more valuable? If, instead of spending a lot of effort trying to cut corners, one spent the same amount of attention trying to find ways to accomplish more on the job, one would enjoy working--more and probably be more successful. When approached without too many cultural prejudices and with a determination to make it personally meaningful, even the most mundane job can produce flow. ... continue reading>> http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199707/finding-flow
Finding Flow, page 101
Does it matter to you? Do you care if your job is boring or alienating? I ask, because I believe you do care. I believe that, while job security and decent pay are nice to have, you have a desire – a desire to work in a job with meaning. A job that engages you, challenges you, and gives you an opportunity for growth. ... continue reading>> http://www.actionablebooks.com/summaries/finding-flow