Dr. Angela Duckworth and her colleagues define grit as perseverance and passion for long-term, high-level goals. People with grit work toward such objectives by engaging in “deliberate practice,” achieving lower-level goals along the way. In deliberate practice, our challenge typically exceeds our skill level at that moment.
Flow—a concept coined by positive psychologist, Dr. Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi—is a state in which we lose temporal and environmental awareness while engaging in an activity. Time and the outside world seem to disappear or transform as we fully immerse in a task. Flow requires an optimal balance between challenge and skill. If the challenge exceeds our skill level, flow likely is impossible. Likewise, if the task is too easy and our skill level surpasses the challenge, no flow.
After we’ve engaged in deliberate practice of a particular new task for a while, ultimately, challenge and skill attune into balance—i.e., we may realize we have entered a state of flow. Our gritty deliberate practice can lead us to flow moments—an exciting prospect! Let’s start to notice when we enter or emerge from a flow state.
When do I feel like I am in flow? How can I cultivate flow more often in my personal and professional life?
© Heidi K. Brown 2023
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