Enthusiasm and FLOW
The FLOW State
How does it feel to be in "the flow"?
- Completely involved, focused, concentrating - with this either due to innate curiosity or as the result of training
- Sense of ecstasy - of being outside everyday reality
- Great inner clarity - knowing what needs to be done and how well it is going
- Knowing the activity is doable - that the skills are adequate, and neither anxious or bored
- Sense of serenity - no worries about self, feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of ego - afterwards feeling of transcending ego in ways not thought possible
- Timeliness - thoroughly focused on present, don't notice time passing
- Intrinsic motivation - whatever produces "flow" becomes its own reward
Enthusiasm Improves Productivity
When we are engaged in what we are doing, all sorts of things happen. We persist longer at difficult problems—and become more likely to solve them. We experience something that psychologist Tory Higgins refers to as flow, a presence of mind that not only allows us to extract more from whatever it is we are doing but also makes us feel better and happier: we derive actual, measurable hedonic value from the strength of our active involvement in and attention to an activity, even if the activity is as boring as sorting through stacks of mail. If we have a reason to do it, a reason that engages us and makes us involved, we will both do it better and feel happier as a result. The principle holds true even if we have to expand significant mental effort—say, in solving difficult puzzles. Despite the exertion, we will still feel happier, more satisfied, and more in the zone, so to speak.
What’s more, engagement and flow tend to prompt a virtuous cycle of sorts: we become more motivated and aroused overall, and, consequently, more likely to be productive and create something of value.
And it creates a cycle of enthusiasm as our accomplishments increase our positive outlook on the task, increasing our focus.