“Contrary to what we usually believe, moments like these, the best moments in our lives, are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times—although such experiences can also be enjoyable, if we have worked hard to attain them. The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience is thus something that we make happen. For a child, it could be placing with trembling fingers the last block on a tower she has built, higher than any she has built so far; for a swimmer, it could be trying to beat his own record; for a violinist, mastering an intricate musical passage. For each person there are thousands of opportunities, challenges to expand ourselves.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
“Come on! Two more laps, you can do it!” I thought to myself. I was in the pool again, pushing through the workout like I always do. Swimming is not easy for me, I never feels like it is easy, I always have to struggle to get where I want to get.
I mentally quit 5 times during each swim workout, I tell myself that I’m really going to stop after this lap, that I won’t do the next set and just call it a day, go home, it has been enough.
Still I push through, I have taught myself that I can mentally quit, that’s fine, but I can’t really quit, I can’t really give up, that is not what this is about. One more lap, and another, and another, that’s how I get through.
Finally, it was time for my cooling down, taking it really easy that was what I was going to do.
I pushed of the wall and swam.
It felt great. effortlessly. I slipped through the water. No thoughts, just me and my laps.
I kept on going, pushed of the wall again. Another lap, that was what I wanted to do, and another. My body didn’t get tired, all of the fatigue that I had had during the session was gone, I was in a world where fatigue didn’t exist. Swimming was what I needed to do.
Another and another. 50m, 100m, 300m, 500m, I swam. 700m, 900m, 1100m. At 1,3km I got out of this trance.
I climbed out with a great feeling, this was rare, this was what living should feel like.
I thought about it: what had I experienced? Why did this suddenly go so well? I had entered flow.
“Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does.”
In this whole year of training I have never had this feeling and for as far as I know I have only had this feeling twice before. Flow is special I tell you that, and if you have ever experienced it I am sure you can agree.
All with all I just see it as a great gift to start this week of training with such a magnificient experience, I shows me that I’m on the right way, I’m getting there!
What I would like to know from you, what is the most special flow-experience you have ever experienced? It must have been memorable 🙂
Have a great week!