When are people more likely to experience flow?

Ronald Siegel
Flow refers to the experience of being fully involved in an activity, marked by a sense of concentration and control and a lack of self-consciousness or awareness of time or discomfort.

People consistently say that they prefer their leisure time to working. However, in a landmark study carried out at the University of Chicago by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, distinguished professor of psychology at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, Calif., flow-producing situations occurred more than three times as often when people were working as in their leisure time. The researchers didn't just count extremely intense flow experiences, but also counted any time that participants scored above their personal average in both the challenge faced and skills being used at the time of sampling. Flow experiences at work occurred at all levels—among managers, clerical staff, and blue-collar workers.

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