I read Flow years ago. If you haven’t, you’ve probably heard of the concept.
And if you haven’t heard of the concept, you’ve probably experienced it.
What is “flow?”
Flow denotes the wholistic sensation present when we act with total involvement. It is the kind of feeling after which one nostalgically says: “that was fun”; or “that was enjoyable”; It is the state in which action follows upon action according to an internal logic which seems to need no conscious intervention on our part. We experience it as a unified flowing from one moment to the next, in which we feel in control of our actions, and in which there is little distinction between self and environment; between stimulus and response; or between past, present, and future.Play and Intrinsic Rewards (1975)
A recent episode of Very Bad Wizards examined the article that initially discussed the concept, titled Play and Intrinsic Rewards (1975).
If the idea is completely alien, it is worth reading the article, and maybe the book. Once you understand the concept of flow, it becomes clear that if you want to get anything done, you need to be able to focus your time and attention. Blocking out your time becomes essential.
But there was something else I took away from the episode and reading the article. It’s the way that the research was conducted. It’s not overly quantitative. It’s not sorcery.
We started our study by talking to a variety of people who have invested a great deal of time and energy in play activities.
After these pilot talks, a standard interview and questionnaire form was developed and administered to 30 rock climbers, 30 basketball players, 30 modern dancers, 30 male chess players, 25 female chess players, and 30 composers of modern music.
Today, this type of study would likely be deemed too simplistic.
But if the results are legit, then who cares?
The best ideas come from old books.
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