You’ll have to click through for the graph but hopefully this makes sense. I’ve never seen a better summary of how I feel about working life.
Choose “anxiety-driven growth” over “boredom-driven growth“.
For Csikszentmihalyi, flow is a magical zone between anxiety and boredom.The vertical axis represents the size of the challenges we are facing.The horizontal axis represents the power of our skills in relation to those challenges.When our challenges exceed our skills (in the upper left part of the diagram), we feel anxiety.
When our skills exceed our challenge (in the lower right part of the diagram), we feel boredom.When our skills and challenges are closely matched (the diagonal zone from lower left to upper right), we are in a sweet spot where we feel neither too much anxiety nor too much boredom.Csikszentmihalyi calls this diagonal channel the “flow channel”.
Flow is what we feel when we take on challenges that are well matched to our skills. That doesn’t mean the challenges are “easy” relative to our skills. In fact, Csikszentmihalyi says that to feel fully engaged, we must stretch ourselves a bit beyond our current comfort level – but not so much that we feel helpless or completely disoriented.