Skip to main content

Flow: 9 dimensions

Optimal functioning profile

D1. Balance between challenge and skills:
Flow requires a balance between the perception of task difficulty and individual capacities. The perception of challenge and skills drives the equation. This means our believes or confidence regarding what we are able to do in a situation, is more important than what our objective skill levels may be.

D2. Merging of action and awareness:
When people are asked to describe how it feels to be in flow, they say they feel at one with the activity being performed. There is a total absorption in what one is doing

D3. Clear goals:
The entrance in a state of flow requires clear, realistic and measurable goals.

D4. Direct and immediate feedback:
When executing the task, feedback are clear and unambiguous. They may be internal or external: the performer does not need to stop and reflect on how thinks are progressing. Moreover, it is not necessary for feedback to always be positive for flow to be experienced.

D5. Concentration on the task:
Attention is completely focused on the “here and now”: there is a total focus on the present.

D6. Sense of control:
The flow experience is typically described as involving a sense of control—or, more precisely, as lacking the sense of worry about losing control that is typical in many situations of business life.

D7. Loss of self-consciousness:
The absence of the self from consciousness does not mean that a person in flow has given up the control of his psychic energy, or that he/she is unaware of what happens in the body or in the mind. It is the ability to focus on the goal without worrying about the opinions of others.

D8. Distortion of the sense of time:
The sense of time is altered: hours and minutes can seem accelerated or slowed down.

D9. Autotelic experience:
Refers to an activity marked by intrinsic pleasure, regardless of external reinforcements. It is the result of the other eight dimensions.