When was the last time you were doing something that had your full, undivided attention? Something that had you so in the moment that time stood still — in fact it ceased to exist at all, and you were able to create something truly magical or score that winning goal… and afterwards you just took a step back and marvelled at what you had done? That state of being is known as flow state.
According to psychologist Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi, what you are experiencing while in a flow state is an “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.” Csíkszentmihályi actually first coined the term in a book he wrote in 1990 called Finding Flow. He describes the mental state of flow as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”
In his book, Csíkszentmihályi also says, “Flow also happens when a person’s skills are fully involved in overcoming a challenge that is just about manageable, so it acts as a magnet for learning new skills and increasing challenges.” “If challenges are too low, one gets back to flow by increasing them. If challenges are too great, one can return to the flow state by learning new skills,” he goes on.
Who Can Achieve This State of Being?
The good thing is, we all have access to this. It is inherent within us all and if we find the right environment and the right activity, we can access it.
Jason Silva, host of the Emmy award winning show Brain Games, is passionate about this idea and discusses it in many of his popular YouTube videos. He explores the idea of hacking your flow state, which is essentially finding a way to be tuned into this state of being more often than not; instead of being able to only access it in a moment of extreme clarity and attention, he says we can actually live from this state at all times, so that everything we do is done with excellence, precision, and utmost creativity. Now, imagine that — living your highest potential at all times. Even just living this state for a period of time daily could drastically transform your life, and it is possible!
Check out Silva’s take on flow state in the video below.
As Silva so passionately says, “We transcend ourselves in these moments of flow. We can hack flow, we can hack nirvana.”