Last weekend I had one of those moments…that perfect moment when the body and mind are intricately balanced and truly in the zone together. Everything falls into place as time adopts an alternate reality and there is a true appreciation of the present. Given the choice I honestly won’t have chosen to be anywhere else in the world. It’s pretty special.
The positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, described as “A man obsessed by happiness.” by Richard Flaste, New York Times (Csikszentmihalyi, 2004) and director the Quality of Life Research Centre defines the mental state of flow as "being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost." (Cherry, 2014).
Some people experience this state in the workplace completely absorbed on a task to support a particular project. It could be through research, the art of negotiation, creative design, training delivery, during a coaching session…the list continues. Others experience flow during sports where athletes experience a “loss of self-consciousness and a sense of complete mastery of the performance” (Cherry, 2014).
My perfect moment described above was during the XNRG Cotswold Way Challenge Multistage Ultra. Over 2 days competitors run 92km with 2,750m of vertical ascent running across “quintessentially English Countryside, passing through rolling farmland and ancient beech woods, and taking in a rich slice of British history from Bronze Age barrows to Neolithic burial grounds and Stone Age hill forts” (Thrubon, 2015).
A snap shot of this perfect moment would have caught myself, Gemma Game and Melissa Venables traversing across an undulating hillside, sun dabbling through the trees with stunning views over Cheltenham and Gloucester. Three Marathon des Sables 2015 running colleagues simply delighted to share the journey together later culminated in crossing the finish line together.
Reflecting on this state in the sports world brings to mind “The Perfect Moment” films by legendary filmmaker Thierry Donard. Over ten years his project chronicles his pursuit to capture this perfect moment through filming some of the best snowboarders, surfers and skiers on the planet set against stunning scenery. It’s a personal annual ritual every winter to catch his films at the cinema in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc to gleam inspiration to push the boundaries further and test yourself.
When did you last have a perfect moment? Everyone’s is different; whether it’s tapping away at a key-board, conversing with a work colleague, riding that wave or playing a musical instrument. When did you last have a perfect moment?
Thierry Donald. 2015. Perfect Moment. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.perfectmoment.com/nuit-de-la-glisse/ [Accessed 17 September 15].
Kendra Cherry. 2014. What is flow? [ONLINE] Available at: http://psychology.about.com/od/ PositivePsychology/a/flow.htm [Accessed 17 September 15].
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. 2004. Flow, the secret to happiness. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentm ihalyi_on_flow?language=en [Accessed 17 September 15].
Neil Thrubon. 2015. Cotswold Way. [ONLINE] Available at:
http://www.xnrg.co.uk/events/details/cotswold-way-challenge-2015.aspx [Accessed 17 September 15].