Flow state of mind


State of flow

I’m not very strong in psychology, but i’m really fascinated about this. I will try to explain you what is state of flow and how it’s connected to IT and our everyday life. First of all, if you haven’t ever heard this term before, please watch the movie below. It’s great TED talk by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, who spend most of his career analyzing flow and happiness.

Basically, according to Csíkszentmihályi, our brain can only process 110 bits per one second. If someone is speaking to us, we are using 60 bits of that bandwith to understand the words. Thats why it’s impossible to listen and understand two people at the same time. This is the point where magic happens. When we are fully focused on some task, our brain uses so many resources to keep us on track that we are lacking awareness of whats going on around us. Moreover we even can’t track signals coming  from our own body. This is the reason why we don’t feel hungry, tired and we lose track of time. On the other side, such high concentration brings every creative task to another level. We start to see things from larger perspective and every element seems to be combined one another.

Inside the flow

Personally, I know the state of flow from two perspectives. First one is related with time when I was spending most of my free time at track and field stadium. Over few years I was training sprint and what was surprising to me every time during competitions was that I never ever remembered anything from my run. Anything! It was like teleporting from start line to finish. After starter’s shot everything happened automatically and my body just knew what to do. At that time I didn’t know what is flow state. Later I realized that when I’m fully concentrated and truly aware of my skills and possibilities, my brain just turn on auto-control mode. Some others sportsmen call it “in the zone”.

Second time when I experienced state of flow was time when I started to learn how to code. I was really amazed of how many things I can do using code. For me it was like the new, amazing world to explore. When I stared my first job, some people could felt offended  because I could just turn off and didn’t say any word for long hours. I was like not present, completly out from time and space.

Folow your flow

Chart of flow

So what is the best way to find flow ? At first, you have to find something that really passionate you. There is two things that could lead you at the path to your flow. As you can see on the chart aside, to get there your skills and level of task need to be very high. When that happens people often values process itself more than goal and result. It’s really important because when you are in flow you can feel that what you are doing truly matters and makes you simple happy. State of flow it’s the time when we are most concentrate, most creative and we can overcome any obstacle or challenge on our way. It seems like whole Universe is helping you to fulfill your goals. But there is one more thing needs to be mention. The worst enemy of flow is distraction. I know this from my own experience, when I lose my flow and get distracted I often got so confused that I don’t know what I was doing a moment before, what time  it is and what should I do next. That is why Scrum teams have a Scrum Master and why top-class athletes have agents. To avoid distractions and focus only on things that make them excited and full of passion.

To sum up, you can find flow everywhere, doing sports, playing or listening to the music, making arts, working or even watching tv. No matter what you do remember that flow is one of elements that makes life really happy. Follow your passion and find your place in the world, everything else is secondary.

May the flow be with you 😉

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