Go with the flow

Last night the BBC child of our time programme started. It is about the lives of a set of kids that the BBC are following/stalking throgh their lives from birth. The kids are now 5 or 6 years old. The programme itself is fascinating, especially having a 2 1/2 year old and seeing where things are heading.
However the phrase that struck me was about “Flow”. They were trying to measure the kids various amounts of “Flow”. I had not realized this was a psychologists term, though I am well aware of the principle. Flow is what happens when your mind is challenged by something and you are so engaged in the activity that time passes and you dont want to stop. We all need an activity to get Flow. Hobbies are usually what we consider as a way to get Flow, but for many of us in this sort of techland our jobs also give us Flow. For the programmers/hackers amongst us do you get ‘Flow’ when you are solving a problem, and you just “get in the zone”, “focus”. I find it also happens when I enthuse to customers and collegues
For me the emerging tech stuff, and all things around this business catch my interest and make it less of a job. Obviously video games also have the same effect on me.
I have recently been introduced to an ARG (Alternate Reality Game) called perplexcity thanks Gareth! This game you buy/trade puzzle cards, each card is a simple or very very complex puzzle, it mixes web, with pen and paper and the different styles of puzzle means that different thought styles are needed. My wife and I have realize that this has given us a combined “flow” as (apart from the BBC programme mentioned) we had the telly off and were trying to solve some of our puzzles. You start at 8 pm and before you know it it’s midnight.
So for me go with the flow used to mean not bothering and meandering along, not it means find a challenge and loose yourself in it as that feels great, either work or home.
I am not sure whether the nature of the tech industry attracts a certain type of person with a certain amount of “Flow”. The eclectic mix of technologies and the art of putting it all together, tinkering with settings, producing complex technical architectures all have a fascination for many of us in Hursley.

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