We received a number of emails related to last week’s newsletter on flow.
Some of you referenced this same chart, which is perhaps one of the most enlightening constructs you will see on the topic of human happiness and performance.
What’s so compelling about this chart is that it clearly highlights for you the task-based conditions which are required for you to enter flow.
How Do You Flow?
Principally, to enter the flow state, the task must be challenging enough to match your skill level, without being too challenging.
One of my friends wrote me about a direct report who is suffering anxiety. He correctly pointed out that the chart implies the job is too challenging for his skill level.
The solution I suggested is to keep building his confidence by pointing out where he is doing well and handing him “easy” victories, while over time building his skills.
You Can’t Flow If You’re Afraid To Fail
But to me, this isn’t the most important conclusion from this chart: It also explains why most people will never achieve the flow state in their job.
Because the vast majority of people are terrified to fail, they rarely put themselves in challenging situations. Hence the challenge is far too low for their skill level, and they remain apathetic and bored in their work.
A conclusion reached over and over again in studies on work-place [dis]-satisfaction.