Let’s put the Octalysis Framework in the context of Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow Theory.
What follows is a rough transcription of the above video. Yu-kai speaks quickly, so fast that even artificial intelligence can’t always keep up!
Hello Octalysis Primers, today we’re going to talk about another psychological fundamentals video. The Flow Theory.
So, as we are learning about the Octalysis framework and and how to apply that to our daily lives and gamification design we also go upstream and learn about different motivational psychology concepts and one of the most iconic that I haven’t talked much about, besides in the brief Udemy course, is the Flow Theory. And the Flow Theory is created by a famous psychologist, called Mikalyi Csikszentmihalyi.
One of the more challenging task and my job is to know how to pronounce his name. I’m still not confident that I spell his name really well without Google correcting my typing, but it is very influential for inspiring so I wanted to spend more time on it. I just want to talk about how the Flow Theory came about.
So Mikalyi Czikscentmihalyi wants to understand how people are feeling and how happy they’re related to 20 or 30 years ago, gave a lot of students beepers, and basically they’ll just go about doing the things in their daily lives, and every once while the beeper will ring, and then they’ll be typing in what did they do, and how do they feel about it.
He realized that people are actually happier when they seem to be too challenging tasks, and they seem to be doing creative things. So he started writing about this concept called flow. Basically, flow state became one of the staples of psychology. And so basically, when a person enters the flow state, they lose a sense of time, they lose the sense of self. They’re so focused, and they feel happy, and they don’t like to be interrupted. That’s why a lot of times people say gamers are grumpy.
When people are in the flow state get interupted, they could get grumpy. By the way, of the beeper is called the Experience Sampling Method for your knowledge, but then even in this flow theory and talks about that there’s nine ways that we can achieve flow, at least in the original.
So first of all, through our bodies, which is dancing, self expression, but then later on 2008 he wants to make it very clear that there’s actually kind of a difference between something being pleasurable and enjoyable. Pleasurable sometimes involves things like sex or eating good food or whatnot and those tend to not bring you into the flow state per se.
But then there’s things that are enjoyable.
Which make you go ah ha! I’m feeling challenged, creativity, and those actually make me feel in the flow state.
So actually later on, he mentions that in terms of body it could be more on the pleasurable side and it may not necessarily lead to flow. But then he talked about how the mind gets into flow which is solving hard problems, we’re solving a problem that’s very difficult. We’re just really engaged, we haven’t given up yet we really think we have a chance.
Also, through our memories. He mentions that sometimes we are thinking about good memories in the past reliving that experience that can put you in a flow state too.
Also contemplating philosophical questions, so if you go to some of the Purpose videos in the Purpose Life Field.
Some are deep, or there’s no real answer but the exploration and the journey is the thing that is engaging part. A lot of times people end up being the flow state.
He always talks about sometimes communication can lead people into the flow state. I don’t know if you experienced before where you startlingly spend time with a friend that you haven’t seen for a long time. You can talk for hours and three four or five hours go by. Sometimes I have a stay over with a friend. And we’ll just talk we’re just talking, talking, I’m tired and then it’s like five or six am and the sun is coming up.
You feel really engaged in conversation with someone else.
Writing is another one, you’re expressing yourself, your thoughts, and you also reach some type of flow state I would say when I write, I am pretty engaged and I’m in the flow state, all times right these days in the meeting a lot of videos but when I write, I actually enjoyed it immensely.
Lifelong learning can put you in flow, which I thought is very interesting right because other things are like short bursts lifelong learning is a long term thing but basically if you are learning throughout your life, every day you’re growing you’re learning, you actually are living in flow. And so, you feel happier you’re growing more and I think that’s what you guys are doing here in Octalysis Prime.
It’s definitely here for the sake of lifelong learning application, Neil deGrasse Tyson, the famous astrophysicist he actually said that the way he sees purpose in his life, is that every day to learn something. And every one or two weeks, he tries to get his mind blown. So, That’s kind of achieving flow state.
Next, Csikszentmihalyi talks about how potentially a job can be so satisfying, that if you believe the flow state especially if it is gamified, we talk about the components of that, how the job, bring you into the flow state. I think it does connect to some of the things earlier like solving for problems, things like that but as a separate thing.
And then finally solitude would be the final way to achieve flow, being by yourself contemplating thinking, for me, maybe it’s designing that, actually, which is going to flow and meditating is for me just quiet meditating is painful and time goes by very very slowly so I’m definitely not in flow. What I’m just trying to have simple, but when I am seeking original thoughts, right just contemplating by myself, so many things.
So those are the ways that we can achieve flow.
Now, how do we know when flow has been achieved?
They don’t all have to be there but he says number one is that the task is just a we believe that we can like I said something difficult right it is. It’s like, maybe not as hard. He talks about, we are able to focus all of our effort attention on the task so what’s going on here that it’s very very difficult to achieve that flow state. Remember I said when you are interrupted from flow, you actually feel grumpy so that means you are fully in attention, concentrating, you haven’t been interrupted. Right.
Number three is very interesting our goals are clearly defined, we know we’re trying to go for, and that pushing slow. The fourth is we received immediate feedback, which includes course correction so we know the goal, and we have direction we see feedback and we’re adjusting right. Obviously, that’s a lot of time how games are designed.
That’s the way a lot of games put people in the flow state. Now, I feel like some of it may not connect to some of the things we mentioned above, which is like sometimes we get philosophical questions you can say you’re trying to figure it out.
I don’t know if it’s feedback or say so I feel like, not all these things have a clear goal, even reliving memories I would say that isn’t a clear goal. These are not describing some of these experiences. And this is where we understand this intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation. Having a goal is a bit more Development and Accomplishment, dealing challenges is also Development/Accomplishment, having autonomy, giving people a sense of choice, that’s more intrinsic, right but that doesn’t necessarily mean we have flow.
So I think, with a goal of, you can achieve flow state but that’s not necessarily like all these components. They’re just identifying there’s patterns, and other components that are time spent on the task seem effortless to us, it’s not like grinding. It just flows right that’s what’s called the flow state. It just flows, feels natural if this harmonious. There’s no resistance to it we just feel like one with the universe and our tasks. And it’s just poetry even in a lot of the ancient Chinese martial art novels or whatnot, you know there’s a swordsman that he’s learning all these sorts of techniques, and then at one point, he just becomes one with a sword he doesn’t recognize that He exists in the sporting environment. He’s just being in this sword, waving poetry.
WOULD YOU LIKE YU-KAI CHOU TO WORK WITH YOUR ORGANIZATION?
If you are interested in working with Yu-kai Chou for a business project, workshop, speech or presentation, or licensing deal, please fill out the form below..