Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Work and finding flow

It has always been a struggle for me to stay happy in all aspects of my life. For a long time I was very accepting of this as when I'm out climbing on the weekends, I am fully alive. This acceptance however may have been a mistake. While in my undergraduate at University of Idaho I was introduced to the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian Psychology professor. His research studies on ,"Flow". Flow defined as,

or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. The idea of flow is identical to the feeling of being in the zone or in the groove. The flow state is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation, where the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing. This is a feeling everyone has at times, characterized by a feeling of great absorption, engagement, fulfillment, and skill—and during which temporal concerns (time, food, ego-self, etc.) are typically ignored."

This graph outlines his theory and says when challenge and skill level are high, in relation to the individual, that flow is present.

So why is this important? Well many of us achieve flow when we are out climbing, biking, running, etc... But how many of us achieve flow at work? When work, for many Americans, is task oriented, and managed by a socially constructed time clock, this is very hard to achieve.

Point of this post being, office work is slow and painfully chipping away at my soul...

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