In 1975, University of Chicago Professor Mihály Csíkszentmihályi did research on happiness and creativity. From this study, he coined the term Flow State and Csíkszentmihályi outlines his 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. It is a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. The idea of flow is identical to the feeling of being in the zone or in the groove. The flow state is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation, where the person is fully immersed in what they are doing. This is a feeling everyone has at times, characterized by a feeling of great absorption, engagement, fulfillment, and skill—and during which temporal concerns (time, food, ego-self, etc.) are typically ignored.
Flow theory postulates three conditions that have to be met to achieve a flow state:
- One must be involved in an activity with a clear set of goals and progress. This adds direction and structure to the task.
- 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.
- 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.
We have all at some time in our life been in this Flow State or in the Zone. Whether it has been at work, participating in a hobby, engrossed in art or competing in an athletic endeavor, we all know what it is like when time goes away, and we become enthralled with the activity.
An explanation of the Flow State is illustrated below. If the task is too challenging for your skill level, you feel anxiety and frustration. If the task is not challenging enough for your skill level, then boredom, apathy and a loss of interest is felt. The key to Flow is when the Task difficulty and your skill level meet within the Flow channel illustrated below.
Imagine what your life could be if you are able to tap into the Flow State more readily? Imagine how much more enjoyable life would be every day and how amazing you would perform.
Here’s a study conducted by Dr. Biasiotto at the University of Chicago in 1996 on visualization. Dr. Biasiotto’s study was conducted by asking a group of students who had been randomly selected to take a series of free-throws. The percentage of made free throws were tallied. The students were then divided into three groups and asked to perform three separate tasks over a 30 day period.
- The first group was told not to touch a basketball for 30 days, no practicing or playing basketball whatsoever.
- The second group was told to practice shooting free throws for a half hour a day for 30 days
- The third group was to come to the gym every day for 30 days and spend a half hour with their eyes closed, simply visualizing hitting every free-throw.
After the 30 days all three groups were asked to come back and take the same number of free-throws they had in the beginning of the study.
- The first group of students who did not practice at all showed no improvement
- The second group had practiced every day and showed a 24% improvement
- The third group however, the group which had simply visualized successful free-throws, showed a 23% improvement
The measurable improvement in the group that purely visualized the exercise was virtually the same as the group who had physically practiced.
Visualization is one aspect of Hypnosis, which is even more powerful in manifesting change in people. Think about how well You would perform in your life when you utilize Hypnosis to assist you in meeting your goals. Think about walking thru life tapping into the Flow State more often and more easily.
Over and over, Hypnosis has been utilized to improve performance of athletes, musicians, executives and others participating in high level activities. Below are studies that have researched the use of Hypnosis to improve performance. It has helped these athletes and it can be used to help you.