Concentration and Flow

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by Michael W. Taft Have you ever been so involved in doing something that the rest of the world just kind of disappeared? Or time slowed down and even your sense of self disappeared? The great Brazilian soccer star Pele talked about an experience he had in which he felt: “…a strange calmness I hadn’t experienced in any of the other games. It was a type of euphoria; I felt I could run all day without tiring, that I could dribble through any of their teams or all of them, that I could almost pass through them physically. I felt I could not be hurt.”1 In our culture we think that concentration is difficult, effortful, tense, and no fun at all. Something that you have to work very hard to do against your will. Psychological research into what concentration is really like, however, paints a very different picture. Hungarian scientist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi looked at people in a state of high concentration, and he found that they were calm, relaxed, open, and felt very good. They wanted to continue concentrating as long as they could, and they wanted to return to it as often as possible. Even if the activity had … Read More