There Are No Ordinary Moments

There are no ordinary moments. Dan Millman

“Our greatest battles lie deep within our own psyches as we face fear, insecurity, and self-doubt. These internal adversaries pose a far greater threat to our lives and our well-being than the external difficulties of daily life. Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. Plato”

― Dan Millman, No Ordinary Moments: A Peaceful Warrior’s Guide to Daily Life

“Whatever our circumstances, everything can feel so simple, so beautiful, and so right when we no longer pay attention to the mind’s incessant chatter.”

― Dan Millman, No Ordinary Moments: A Peaceful Warrior’s Guide to Daily Life

“Energy follows thought; no matter how hard we work or how much we know, we tend to rise to our assumed limits, and no higher.”

― Dan Millman, No Ordinary Moments: A Peaceful Warrior’s Guide to Daily Life

 

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Flow (psychology)  From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In positive psychology, flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does.

Components

Jeanne Nakamura and Csíkszentmihályi identify the following six factors as encompassing an experience of flow.

  1. Intense and focused concentration on the present moment
  2. Merging of action and awareness
  3. A loss of reflective self-consciousness
  4. A sense of personal control or agency over the situation or activity
  5. A distortion of temporal experience, one’s subjective experience of time is altered
  6. Experience of the activity as intrinsically rewarding, also referred to as autotelic experience

Those aspects can appear independently of each other, but only in combination do they constitute a so-called flow experience. Additionally, psychology expert, Kendra Cherry, has mentioned three other components that Csíkszentmihályi lists as being a part of the flow experience:

  1. “Immediate feedback”
  2. Feeling that you have the potential to succeed
  3. Feeling so engrossed in the experience, that other needs become negligible

Just as with the conditions listed above, these conditions can be independent of one another.

Flow theory postulates three conditions that have to be met to achieve a flow state:

  1. One must be involved in an activity with a clear set of goals and progress. This adds direction and structure to the task.
  2. The task at hand must have clear and immediate feedback. This helps the person negotiate any changing demands and allows them to adjust their performance to maintain the flow state.
  3. One must have a good balance between the perceived challenges of the task at hand and their own perceived skills. One must have confidence in one’s ability to complete the task at hand.

 

The Autotelic Personality

Csíkszentmihályi hypothesized that people with several very specific personality traits may be better able to achieve flow more often than the average person. These personality traits include curiosity, persistence, low self-centeredness, and a high rate of performing activities for intrinsic reasons only. People with most of these personality traits are said to have an autotelic personality. The term “autotelic” is acquired from two Greek words, auto, meaning self, and telos meaning goal. Being Autotelic means having a self-contained activity, one that is done not with the expectation of some future benefit, but simply to experience it is the main goal.

 

At this point, there is not much research on the autotelic personality, but results of the few studies that have been conducted suggest that indeed some people are more prone to experience flow than others. One researcher (Abuhamdeh, 2000) found that people with an autotelic personality have a greater preference for “high-action-opportunity, high-skills situations that stimulate them and encourage growth” compared to those without an autotelic personality. It is in such high-challenge, high-skills situations that people are most likely to enter the flow state.

 

Experimental evidence shows that a balance between skills of the individual and demands of the task (compared to boredom and overload) only elicits flow experiences in individuals characterized by an internal locus of control or a habitual action orientation. Several correlational studies found need for achievement to be a personal characteristic that fosters flow experiences.

My Comments

Moments are ordinary only if we coast through them.

In my TED Thought Exercise Diet post the first item under Thought is

– Awareness:

The ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects, thoughts, emotions, or sensory patterns. Giving your attention to awareness is the beginning of Spirituality.

My hope is that you continue researching this topic and have more extraordinary moments.