Personal and Organizational Success in Business
Sandra Molendyk

778-861-7243

Featured Works


RedPassion

Passion
and the art of Thriving

How to create long term harmonious passion in your life
Link


Power in Silence

Power in Silence
How to reset your mind to have intrinsic motivation, internal reward, focus, and success
Link

The Winning Cup

The Winning Cup

How Engagement, Confidence, Imagery, And Flow Can Help You and Your Company to Achieve Business Excellence

 

Elite Athlete Confidence 

Elite Athlete Competence, Confidence and Flow
Thesis

 

Servant Leadership for Healers 

Servant Leadership for Healers

 

Being Present

Being Present
in Life, Work
and Relationships
Compressed YouTube Video

 

Illuminating our multicultural colours

Illuminating our Multicultural Colors
Teaching from a place, which celebrates our diversity.


A Contemporary

Empowering Communities
A Contemporary Approach


NEW RENAISSANCE LEADERSHIP

New Renaissance Leadership
Creating and Inspiring Legacy and Art
in Our Lifestyles
and Organizations

Sandy

 written by
Sandra Molendyk
Nov 2010

How YOU can benefit community by taking the time to experience flow

Introduction

As a youth, Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, lived through some of the worst atrocities of humankind. He lived in a concentration camp during WWII; and he lost family and friends during the war. But Csikszentmihaly, noticed something special about these people who had suffered so much. He noticed that some people recovered faster, and some people remained happy no matter how much they had lost. As a psychologist, Csikszentmihaly researched this experience and labeled it as flow.

Today, I will talk about what flow is, and four ways to achieve flow. And you will learn the significant impact you can have on your community when you take the time to experience flow. This speech is based on the work of Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, as well as my own research as a peak experience practitioner, and extraordinary legacy specialist. 

First, I will explain what flow is

Flow is a dance of passion; everything feels and works just right. You experience inner clarity, serenity, and timelessness. Without any effort, you experience greater skill than ever before. Flow is an out of the ordinary experience, also known as being in the zone, peak experience, and ecstasy.

By this definition, you may realize that you have already experienced flow sometime in your life. Maybe you were riding your bike when you suddenly felt exhilarated and took off with extra abilities. Or maybe you have been so immersed in work, that you have lost track of time and you found answers coming easily to you.

If you have not experienced flow before, you are not alone. Many people will never experience flow. But you can.

Here are four easy ways to create flow

These methods are all about learning to change your focus:

1) Immerse yourself in another tasks
2) Challenge yourself
3) Open up to your senses, and
4) Recall a previous flow experience.

1) Immerse yourself in another tasks

The first method requires that you set yourself up to experience flow by spending time on a task other than flow. That's right, you heard me correctly. To experience flow, focus on something else!

One ways to do this is to set a timer for five to fifteen minutes. For this time, dive deep into your work. Focus on nothing but the task at hand.

If you are at home you can wash your dishes. If you are at work you can  tackle a pile of papers waiting to be sorted. You could even go for a fast walk or work on your swim technique.

Five to fifteen minutes is easy enough so that you do not need to psych yourself up to do it, and you wont get easily bored.

2) Challenge yourself: High Skill and High Challenge
(See figure 1.)

Flow occurs at the intersection of high skill and high challenge

Figure Flow occurs at the intersection of high skill and high challenge

Note: This graph is of my own making.
However the graph idea, shape, and content belong to Csikszentmihalyi (2004).

The second way to trigger flow is to challenge yourself. High skill and high challenge equals flow. For instance:

  1. If you are bored or relaxed, increase your challenge level. You can take on new projects at work or try a new sport or social activity.

  2. If you are worried or feeling anxious, you need to train your skill level to appropriately match the task you are trying to accomplish.

    For instance, you may need to take a computer lesson, an English or business class, or even a see a relationship coach to help get your skill level to a place where you no longer feel worried or anxious.

  3. If you are or experiencing apathy, you will need to increase both your skill and challenge levels. For instance, if you are watching TV and feel apathy, go out and play a sport or hang out with friends.

  4. And if you are feeling in control or feeling aroused, that's good news for you. You are very close to experiencing a flow event.

3) Open up to your senses (exteroceptive attention)

The third method is to change your focus. After I have had a hard day, I will go for a run. But I may be thinking about my problems. So I open my eyes and take in all that is around me. I see how the sun comes through the leaves of the forest and I look at the colors of the path coming towards me. Within seconds, I am totally immersed and having a great run. I feel awesome. I enjoy myself, and I may even get answers so that my problems work themselves out.

In fact, this last method is one of the methods I utilize before working with my clients. This ensures that I have blown out all stuff which may reside in me physically, mentally, and psychologically before meeting with my clients, so that we can have a joyous and enlightening experience with each other.

4) Recall a previous flow event (interoceptive attention)

The fourth way to create flow, is to recall a previous flow event. Take the time to remember how each of your senses were engaged during a previous flow event. What did it feel like? Can you remember your surroundings? Recalling and letting yourself re-experience that feeling, will help you to trigger a new flow event.

Be aware that you are not trying to recreate the previous flow state, because the situation is no longer the same. Even if the situation is similar, you will need to trigger a new flow event that is based on your current situation, needs, and abilities.

Why flow matters

Why does flow matter?

In a study by Massimini and Carli, peak experience occurred approximately 3% of the time when watching television, 26% when engaged in sport, 32% when we are with friends, and 47% when engaged in an art or a hobby.

The same situations that create flow, also create happiness and joy. Yet, many of us spend time surfing the internet at work, or watching tv when we get home. This depletes our energy and we are experiencing just enough stimuli to keep us bored, instead of pursuing what revitalizes us.

One individual experiencing flow
can benefit community and humanity

Flow allows us to think clearly and create meaning in our lives.

Flow, is a mutually inclusive experience which, involves others. When you transcend with flow, we are taken along for the ride and experience our own flow. The community suddenly has purpose, and transcends their community issues.

Shared flow facilitates
community and organizational relevance

When we experience flow, we are at a heighted state of awareness and openness. We have the real answers, and the real questions. We know what we need to offer, and how to offer it. We think much more clearly.

We also become more interesting
when we experience flow

Abraham Maslow has stated that people want to learn from others who are self-actualizing. I believe it is also true that people enjoy learning from people who are experiencing flow. When we are experiencing flow, others want to take part in our experience because they want to learn from us while we in a flow state. They want to understand what is going on, and experience the simplicity and beauty of our complicated actions which occur because of the flow state.

Flow can become a shared experience

As I walked through the mall yesterday, I was thinking about flow. This fellow gets on the elevator with me. He tells me that "the reason we have temples, is so that we can be near others when they are experiencing enlightenment, because we need to experience their vibration. When you see the Buddha, you become the next Buddha, because you have experienced their vibration." He tells me "when you hold a flower between your fingers, and to look at it, the flower is telling you ' am the universe, I am everything, take me in'".

I believe that this experience is a flow experience. Flow is the flower that opens up in you, the experience of the world and the universe, at a heighted state of being. When we take the time to experience flow, others around us can experience their own flow.

Together,
we can
create community-oriented-actualization
and extraordinary community legacy

When we are in flow together, our actions and our minds are operating at a heighted state of awareness. We know what we need to do; we know the answers to the real questions. We have the real solutions, and it is easy to accomplish these solutions, because we are in a state of flow and others are in flow states around us. Everything works just right. We have serenity, clarity, and experience timelessness.

People want to be involved with this experience, and the experience is involving. This is how our flow, becomes community-activated-flow and how our self-actualization becomes community-oriented-actualization. This is also how we create personal and community excellence and extraordinary community legacy.

Conclusion

In conclusion, flow is its own reward and creates feelings of deep enjoyment and transcendence. Flow makes life worth living, validates our existence, cures our anxieties, and with flow we become more likable and trustworthy.

You can overcome adversity and create a better life, by focusing on what is in your control. Happiness and flow are in your control.

To create flow, remember that you need to choose a time to work on flow. Don’t focus on flow itself, focus on the task. Increase your challenge or skill level, change your focus, and involve your senses. You can also recreate flow by remembering a past flow experience.

Flow is inclusive, and others can be taken in by our flow so they too have clarity. When we experience flow, we can make better choices. When we experience flow with others, we can make better choices together, for the sake of community.

 

If you would like to know more about
mindfulness, flow, or meditation
or if you would like to experience
mindfulness, flow, and meditation
please contact Sandra
at
778-861-7243

 

References:

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow - The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Retrieved February 2010, from http://www.julieboyd.com.au/ILF/pages/members/cats/bkovervus/per_growth_pdfs/flow.pdf

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Beyond boredom and anxiety: Experiencing flow in work and play. San Francisco, California, USA: Jossey_Bass.


Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2004, Feb). Ted.com. Retrieved Feb 2011, from Ted Talks - Ideas worth spreading: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on flow: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow.html

Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Jackson, S. A. (1999). Flow in sports: The key to optimal experiences and performances. Champaign, Il, USA: Human Kinetics.

Gilbert, D. (2004, Feb). Ted: Ideas worth spreading. Retrieved 2011 Feb, from Ted Talks: Dan Gilbert asks, Why are we happy?: http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are_we_happy.html

Maslow, A. H. (1968). Toward a psychology of being (2nd ed.). Princeton, New Jersey, USA: D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc.

Massimini, F., & Carli, M. (1988). Systematic assesment of flow in daily experience. In M. Csikszentmihalyi, Optimal experience: Psychological studies of flow in consciousness (p. 416). New York, New York, USA: Cambridge University Press.

Miller, S. (2010). Performing under pressure: Gaining the mental edge in business and sport. Mississauga, Ontario, Canada: John Wiley & Sons Canada Ltd.

Orlick, T. (2008). In pursuit of excellence: How to win in sport and life through mental training (4th ed.). USA: Human Kinetics.

Ravizza, K. (2002). A philosophical construct: A framework for performance athletes. International Journal of Sports Psychology, 33, 4-18.

Samuels, M., & Samuels, N. (1981). Seeing with the mind's eye: The history of techniques and uses of visualization. New York, New York, USA: Random House Bookworks Book.

Watson, N. J., & Nesti, M. (2005, September). The role of spirituality in sport psychology consulting: An analysis and integrative review of literature. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 17(3), 228–239.