I’ve been listening to Daniel Pink’s book Drive, which is all about motivation. It’s been nice to hear the history of some motivational strategies I have taught like Maslow Hierarchy and McGregor’s XY model or McClelland’s human motivation theories. But I’m also hearing about ones I didn’t know before, such as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s theory of “flow.”
FLOW is a state of intense absorption where the distinction between you and the work you are doing practically disappears. Click to Tweet.
Flow is a state in which people who are intrinsically motivated are driven to achieve mastery in something that engages them purely for the satisfaction of achieving mastery, rather than because of any other external reward. Being in this state of flow has so many benefits:
- Flow makes people more productive
- Flow keeps people engaged
- Flow makes people’s concept of time go faster
- Flow helps people maintain motivation and happiness at work
Knowing that flow states have so many benefits got me thinking about where I have flow in my work and personal life. At work, I have flow when I’m teaching and when I’m connecting with others. In my personal life, I often get into a flow state when a jigsaw puzzle is put in front of me. Once, I almost missed a call because I just had to finish the section of the puzzle I was working on and lost all concept of time!
Knowing the kind of tasks that put us in a flow state can help us to create more opportunities for cultivating flow states at work. and in our personal lives. My question for you, then, is where do you find flow? Where do you get into that state in which you feel great satisfaction, have high engagement, and are advancing in some way?
Oh – I also feel flow when I am connecting, of course!