Flow – Being in the Zone

Explains the relationship between challenges and skills.

The Book

Flow: The psychology of happiness by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi


When doing any task there are 2 factors involved:

  • The challenge – how complex is the task itself
  • The skill – how hard / easy is it for the person to do the task

These 2 factors intersect in a point called “Flow”.

The intersection can explain several emotions that arise within a person.

Frustration – When a task is too complex and the and the skill does not meet the challenge

Boredom – When a task is too simple and skill far exceeds the challenge

Flow – When the challenge and the skill are just right for each other.

In Flow a person enters a mental space where:

  • there is loss of time
  • in many cases there is a deep sense of joy
  • there is a sense of meaning


  • Helps understand what is happening when experiencing frustration, or boredom.
  • To find Flow in any task, it is possible consider whether changing the complexity or whether the skill required can be changed.