Definition of ‘Flow’

Flow is defined as an optimal state of consciousness, a state where you feel you best and perform your best.

More specifically, the term refers to those moments of rapt attention and total absorption, when you get so focused on the task at hand that everything else disappears. Action and awareness merge. Your sense of self vanishes. Your sense of time distorts (either, typically, speeds up; or, occasionally, slows down). And throughout, all aspects of performance, both mental and physical, go through the roof.

Where does the word “flow” come from anyway? Does the experience have other names?

The synonyms for flow are endless: peak experiences, being in the zone, runner’s high, being unconscious, the forever box, etc. Flow is something of a technical term. It emerged from psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s early research into the state, where interview subjects—in one of the largest psychological surveys ever conducted— consistently described the experience of flow as one where every decision, every action, flows seamlessly, perfectly, effortlessly, from the last—like (as Csikszentmihalyi once explained) “playing jazz.” In other words, the term “flow” is actually a phenomenological description of the experience—it describes how the state makes us feel. In short, flow feels flowy

For more info click here to read Steven Kotler’s deeper explanation on ‘flow state’