I have being kiting and surfing for many years. I jumped from airplanes with parachute. I jumped from high waterfalls. I rock climbed for a while too. I enjoyed all these extreme experiences a lot.
Contrary to what some people may think, I don’t like to put myself in dangerous situations and I hate to hurt myself. I am not an adrenaline junkie either. Most of my friends who are involved in those sports are more or less like me. Then, why we do them? Why we take the risk? Why we want to experience the rush?
A few years ago I found on the internet a concept created by professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi use in positive psychology: “The Flow”. When I studied it and read the book, I realized that this was exactly what happened to me. "The Flow" is what I look for when I kitesurf.
According to Myhali, "Flow" is:
“an state of 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. To achieve a flow state, a balance must be struck between the challenge of the task and the skill of the performer. If the task is too easy or too difficult, flow cannot occur. Both skill level and challenge level must be matched and high; if skill and challenge are low and matched, then apathy results.
The flow state also implies a kind of focused attention, and indeed, it has been noted that mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and martial arts seem to improve a person’s capacity for flow. Among other benefits, all of these activities train and improve attention”
Not only practicing sports is possible to find "The Flow". Actually, it was a phenomenon studied first in artists. It’s being said that when Michelangelo painted the Sixtine Chapel, he didn’t eat or sleep much to the point that he vanished often and when he came back, he continued with his paintings. For him there was no hunger, he had no need for sleep, he was in such mental state where the challenge was as great as his skills. He was in "The Flow".
When you find a challenge according to your skills you feel "The Flow" and you feel completely happy. In that moment you don’t think about it because you don’t think about anything but being in "The Flow" and enjoying the moment.
You can find "The Flow" in your work, when you read, when you write... If you don’t have something like this in your life, go out, look for a challenge and do it, because you don’t know the amazing feeling you are missing out.
Do you feel "The Flow"?