Clear Your Head

Clear your head for a while by immersing yourself in some challenging and gratifying activity. Whatever it takes to get you out of your daily distracted state and into a state of FLOW.

How we feel about ourselves, the joy we get from living, ultimately depend directly on how the mind filters and interprets everyday experiences. Whether we are happy depends on inner harmony, not on the controls we are able to exert over the great forces of the universe. Certainly we should keep on learning how to master the external environment, because our physical survival may depend on it. But such mastery is not going to add one jot to how good we as individuals feel, or reduce the chaos of the world as we experience it. To do that we must learn to achieve mastery over consciousness itself.
— Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

The flow state is a profound concept introduced to us by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in the 1970s. It is a mental state characterized by complete immersion, engagement, and enjoyment in an activity with a feeling of energized focus. It's complete absorption in what one does.

Csikszentmihalyi outlined 3 components that indicate a state of flow:

  1. One must be involved in an activity with a clear set of goals and progress. This adds direction and structure to the task.
  2. The task at hand must have clear and immediate feedback. This helps the person negotiate any changing demands and allows them to adjust their performance to maintain the flow state.
  3. One must have a good balance between the perceived challenges of the task at hand and their own perceived skills. One must have confidence in one's ability to complete the task at hand.

When all 3 criteria are met, then one is said to have achieved a state of flow.

The chart below illustrates the skill level and challenge level required to achieve a state of flow. This essentially says that in order to get into a state of flow, one’s perceived skill level for the task has to be high and the perceived challenge of the activity also has to be high. So, find something very challenging to do - if you don't already have. It should also require a lot of your skill to do. This most certainly will get you flowing.


Go...get flowing!