# The components of flow experience
When people experience the flow state, most will mention at least one, often all of the below listed components. Even though Mihaly presents this as 8 individuals components, I have grouped the components into the prerequisites and the subjective experience that one get during the flow activity.
These are the prerequisite you need to enter the flow state:
- A challenging activity that requires skills: The skills being used must match with the challenge given, see Flow model
- Clear goals
- Immediate feedback: The immediacy of the feedback is crucial to maintain concentration, but the kind of feedback you get is unimportant as long as it’s aligned with the goal.
Once you have fulfilled the prerequisites, the first initial subjective experience you’ll be able to get is: 4. Concentration on the task at hand: This is not about making sure that you’re in the condition to concentrate. Rather, this emphasises that with the prerequisites fulfilled, you’ll be able to concentrate regardless of the condition you’re in.
These are the rest of the subjective experience that you may notice once you have completed the flow activity:
- The disappearance of awareness: There is no doubt in your action.
- Exercising a sense of control: You will enjoy exercising control in difficult situation, which is different than a sense of being in control
- The disappearance of self: You forget about the ‘self’.
- The transformation of time: Hours may feel like minutes, or vice-versa. Exception applies to a task that requires precision of time like surgery.
Mihaly, Flow (p. 49).
As our studies have suggested, the phenomenology of enjoyment has eight major components.
Mihaly, Flow (p. 66).
Often hours seem to pass by in minutes; in general, most people report that time pass by much faster. But occasionally the reverse occurs: Ballet dancers describe how a difficult turn that takes less than a second in real time stretches out for what seems like minutes […]
- The prerequisites of flow experience
- Redirect to The components of flow experience
- Pleasure does not lead to flow experience
- Perhaps one of the reason pleasure does not bring happiness, is because the feeling you get don’t normally last very long. Pleasure activities are normally passive, hence they don’t lead to the growth of self (The growth of self requires complexity). You’ll get happiness out of an activity that causes the growth of self: flow activities (The components of flow experience).
- Repeating flow activities may stop flow experiences
- Flow activities are enjoyable and you’ll be bound to repeat enjoyable activities. If you repeat the same activities again and again, you will eventually be proficient in the activity. Unfortunately once your skill has surpassed the challenge that you have initially set, you will start to feel boredom instead of flow. Having a challenging activity that requires skill is one of the crucial component of flow (The components of flow experience).
- The key to flow is to control consciousness
- You can experience flow when you have an order in your consciousness. In turn, an order in consciousness is achieved when new information are congruent with your goal. Having a clear goal is one of the crucial component of flow (The components of flow experience).