Have you ever experienced one or more of these symptoms?
- No spontaneous thought
- An intensified, fixed, internalized awareness
- An expansion of especially clear awareness into ambient space
- The disappearance of the bodily self
- A distinctive closing off of all sight and sound
- A deep, blissful serenity
- A marked slowing or cessation of respiration
Don’t worry: you weren’t abducted by aliens (I hope). Instead, you attained that elusive and magical state of flow that only comes from total absorption.
Some associate this state with the deep internal absorption that comes from skilled meditation. Others refer to it as the Coder’s High. But you don’t need to live in Tibet or work in Silicon Valley to find this bliss. The flow state finds us when we are fully absorbed in accomplishing a complex and worthy task.
Great works of art may be immersive but not truly absorbing unless we’re creating them. The flow state is for actors and agents of mastery. Have you ever enjoyed those moments when you lost yourself utterly in your work? You found the flow and probably turned out a masterpiece in the bargain.
The first step to your greatest work is to understand that flow exists for those who can become utterly absorbed in a task. The nest step is to learn how to reach that state consistently. High-achieving athletes, academics, artists, and epic test takers all know the pleasure and promise of the flow state.
Have you ever found your flow on test day? What happened and how did it feel?