|Flow: a brilliant book which reminds
us to get reading great fiction.
I’ve noticed that Flow: The Psychology of Optimum Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has been mentioned in so many books I’ve been reading lately. Lisa Zunshine’s Why We Read Fiction is the first example which comes to mind, but I know there are many other instances. Flow has become a landmark text as well as a bestseller, and I think it’s deserved.
If you haven’t read Flow, it outlines Csikszentmihalyi’s theory that people are happiest when they are in a state of flow— a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. Essentially it’s mindfulness, but it’s also a bit like ‘being in the zone’, or being so engrossed in an activity that you seem oblivious to what’s going on around you.
Defining flow visually: finding a degree of challenge which runs parallel to our skills and confidence
|A diagram of Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of flow, showing how we should find the optimum balance
between our skills and confidence and the task’s degree of challenge.
When do you feel ‘flow’? What about when reading a good book?
- When reading we enter a simulation of life (and even forget our own at times)
- We can immerse ourselves in the lives of characters and take on their perspective
- Superb writing deserves our full attention!