Friday, January 10, 2014

Flow defined.

Flow is my word for 2014.  I think I know what it is, but I wanted to do a little research anyway.  I’ll admit I like doing research especially when it involves googling around the web and reading lots of articles.

Here’s the dictionary definition:
verb 1.  Move along or out steadily and continuously in a current or stream.  2.  Go from one place to another in a steady stream, typically in large numbers.  noun 3. The action or fact of moving along in a continuous stream. 4.  A steady or continuous stream of something.

Wikipedia defines it:
Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does. Proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, this positive psychology concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields.

Ok, I admit I’m not familiar with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian psychologist and professor.  He’s written many books and articles in his 79 years on this planet. He's known for his studies on happiness and creativity and his research on flow.  He's call the world's leading researcher in positive psychology and his work has transformed the perception of human activity from athletics to art to scientific invention.

Here’s a quick look at his work on flow from Wikipedia: 
According to Csikszentmihalyi, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate experience in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. In flow, the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand. To be caught in the ennui of depression or the agitation of anxiety is to be barred from flow. The hallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task, although flow is also described as a deep focus on nothing but the activity – not even oneself or one's emotions.

Flow is described using these phrases:  to be in the moment, present, in the zone, on a roll, wired in, in the groove, on fire, in tune, centered, or singularly focused.

The Urban dictionary defines it:
The style and essence of a True Lax(lacrosse) Bro. Is usually referred to as long, wavy or curly hair, which can give someone flow, however, flow can also be attained by the equipment and uniform of a player (calf socks, knee length shorts). More importantly flow comes from the style of a player's game; if a player always makes sloppy plays or is a ball hog they are lacking flow, but if a player can make plays and pick corners he has flow.  Example: "Chad has sick flow"

I had to laugh at that one, at first.  But then, I realized it's just another way to describe flow.  And I do know when I'm in the flow at the wheel, in the studio or writing.  Time melts into movements of creation and creation becomes an extension of me in those moments.  To me, it's like magic, things just emerge or tasks and errands all get done with a feeling of effortlessness.

I may not have long, waves hair, but I do know how to play, so, maybe I have 'sick flow', after all. 

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