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In Flow, Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi tells us:

In all the activities people in our study reported engaging in, enjoyment comes at a very specific point: whenever the opportunities for action perceived by the individual are equal to his or her capabilities. Playing tennis, for instance, is not enjoyable if the two opponents are mismatched. The less skilled player will feel anxious, and the better player will feel bored. The same is true for every other activity… Enjoyment appears at the boundary between boredom and anxiety, when the challenges are just balanced with the person’s capacity to act.

Thus we have a paradoxical situation: On the job people feel skillful and challenged, and therefore feel more happy, strong, creative, and satisfied. In their free time people feel that there is generally not much to do and their skills are not being used, and therefore they tend to feel more sad, weak, dull, and dissatisfied. Yet they would like to work less and spend more time in leisure.”

In The Rise of Superman, Steven Kotler tells us:

Nice! Enjoyment comes at a particular point where the situation is equal to or just outside your capabilities. Go too far out of your comfort zone, and you feel stress and anxiety. Don’t get enough out of your comfort zone, and you feel bored. Let’s aim for that Goldilocks zone and discover clever ways to make things more or less challenging to put ourselves in flow more often.

Again, STRETCH, not snap, by going 4% out of your comfort zone to get into flow. Do that enough times, and what was once impossible becomes what’s for breakfast.

Episode 26