Saturday, October 03, 2009


The concept of flow has been discussed a number of times on this blog. It comes from the work of Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi and there are a number of components to it. Most commonly discussed include feelings of timelessness, self-control, concentration, full task engagement, relief of anxiety, creativity and so on. "Being in the zone" is perhaps not a bad way of describing it, particularly in a sports context. Csíkszentmihályi conducted several pathbreaking studies on this concept, which among other things did a lot to integrate methodologies such as experience sampling into psychology. He gives a lecture on this here

At the risk of just putting up, things I really like for no apparent reason (!), some of the following seem to me to represent people in full flow. The attainment of these types of states is an important topic to understand for many fields. According to this TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, in Arabic countries when people recognised this state in someone they would attribute it to God descending on the person and they would chant "Allah, Allah, Allah" which later morphed into "Ole Ole Ole" as Arabic culture moved through to Spain.

Jake Shimabukuro playing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps on Ukele"

Ronnie O'Sullivan fastest 147

Tommy Emmanuel playing Classical Gas

Iggy Pop Playing the Passenger Live

Jimi Hendrix playing "all along the watchtower" live

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