Friday, May 5, 2017

FLOW AND HAPPINESS IN GOOGLE NEW YORK


Last week, I visited Google's offices in New York. It was my third visit and it was awesome. Now I have two dreams.


Have you seen the comedy movie The Internship about two salesmen who get internship in Google and are playing their way through their working days?  After I saw the film I have visited Googles offices in Washington and in New York and I have had great experiences.

I still feel inspire and I believe that we have a lot to learn from the company.  Why is Google such a great place to work and what is the secret of the success? After my third visit I believe I know the answer. Maybe I am wrong, but maybe I will reveal the secret in this blog?
 But first I will tell you a little bit about myself. I am a woman in her best age: 50 years and singel. The four most important people in my life is my mother and my three sons.
I have published 6 books but the most important book is called «flow in everyday life- navigation through stress, chaos and boredom». I wrote this book together with Frans Ørsted Andersen.
We believe that you can be in flow without being creative, but you cannot be creative without being in flow. But what does it really mean to be in a state of flow and what can facilitate flow in modern life?
Google knows. I have seen it. Three times. Another book I have written is about running. Inactivity is one of the biggest health challenges in the world. Google also know this.

Last week I visited  new York together with two teachers and their 33 students. We were all excited about the visit to Google. Google has been voted the world's best workplace for a number of years in a row.  How come, my students asked. See, listen and learn, I replied. And so we went there together to the red brick building nearby Chelsea marked.
 The first things we learned from our guide was that Googlers play a lot at work. Because  they believe that play leads to people being creative and innovative. Yes, this is the secret, I think.  Many of the 5000 employees in Google in New York work long hours.  If they are hungry or tired there is plenty of places to eat and relax. And everything is free.  The healthy stuff is in the open but you have to open and the potatochrisps and sugary stuff is hidden.  
Google would like the employees to keep fit but always use positive words to stimulate the employees to stay active.
In Google New York there were gyms, playgrounds with Lego, libraries, offices built in trains, exhibitions, games room and other fun things to see and observe. My students were impressed. I know why the employers have chosen to have so much fun stuff here. They want employees to be healthy and happy and they want them to flourish.
 Flow is briefly explaining the creative state you are in when you are so engaged in what you are about to forget about time and place. This affects both efficiency, productivity and the results. I have also seen it in LEGO. That is not surprising because  the Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csiksentmihalys who is behind the flowtheory has been involved with that Danish company.  


In Google, the keywords are flow and trust. Google believes that people  perform at their very best when they are in flow.  It's not about getting your employees to run faster, work faster and sweat more - but to help them utilize their skills, abilities and skills. In order to flourish, employees need to have room for play and support to to use their resources in the best possible way. That is the key to the sucess, I believe. 

Research shows that in spite of increasing stress in our society some people manage to create their own flow zones in the middle of chaos. To experience flow on an individual lever  you must find a balance between challenge and skills. Flow works as a mental retreat where there is no room for negative feelings or thoughts.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has contributed pioneering work to our understanding of happiness, creativity, human fulfillment and flow. According to Csiksentmihaly flow involves:
·        A challenging activity that requires skills: This requires a fine balance: too high a challenge will produce anxiety; too easy an activity will produce boredom.
·        Clear goals and feedback: Good, immediate feedback allows the individual to know they have succeeded. Such knowledge creates ‘order in consciousnesses.
·        Concentration on the task at hand: When one is thoroughly absorbed in an enjoyable activity there is no room for troubling thoughts.
·        A sense of control: Here the actuality of being in control is not as important as the subjective sense of exercising control in difficult situations.
·        Loss of self-consciousness: The individual feels he or she is merging with the

After my third visit in Google I have two dreams. One of them is that my sons will work here in the future. The other dream is that I will be invited to speak about flow in Googles headquarters in the future.

After 2011 I have met Mihaly Csiksentmihalyis many times and I have also shared some of my findings with the International Positive Psychology Assosiation. 









Here are some of our findings on what makes people flow in a modern life:

 Variation: doing something new – working in a new office, doing a new activity, doing the activity in a different way, at a new time, etc.
Travelling/commuting: working on the bus, in the train, on the ferry, in the plane, etc. (relation to “The Plateau Experience”(Buchler, 2011)
Activities in Nature. Organized or more informal activities in nature seem to be able to facilitate flow (also silence, quietness, distance, no demands)
Clicking: being together with persons with whom we click facilitates collective flow  (Brafmann & Brafmann).
Functional room design/ construction:  the workshop, the IT class, the cafe, etc.
Good work habits: do one activity at a time, finish one activity before starting a new one, etc.
Intensity variation: Organizing / structuring the day in periods of changing/ varying intensity – from high intensity to low intensity
Controlling the media/ the IT gadgets – not letting them control you
Establish quiet zones / periods where you are off-line and / or zones / periods with no gadgets.
Remain capable of having experiences and relatonships that are direct and perceived without media and IT

So folks, go with the flow. You may enjoy where it leads.my homepage

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

FLOW IN THE SNOW!

Hello my readers. I am just testing this blogg. Be patient. I will soon be back with some more interesting stuff

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

NEW BOOK WILL BE PUBLISH 16h April 2015: YES WE CAN RUN!

This month I will publish my 4th book in Norway. My coauthor is the former top atlethe Kari Uglem. In the book we will show you simple running technique and inspire you to walk or run more. In the book you can also read about my Journey from beeing a Coach potato to a Marathon runner in 2014. Welcome to the booklaunch at Achehoug Publisher house in Oslo 16th April!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The book "Flow in daily life" inspire ministers and professionals

Dear blog-reader,
Thank you for reading this blogpost regularly. 2012 has been a great year for flow and positive psychology.
The respons after we published the book "Flow in daily life" in Norway has been  really great. There have been so many nice articles, reviews and commentaries about our book.







I want to share some of the recommendations we have had with you before the booklaunch in Copenhagen 1.february 2013.
Tora Aasland, the minister of research and education of Norway (2007 til 2012):
I will strongly recommend the book about flow in daily life, written by Nina Hanssen and Frans Ørsted Andersen. They have managed to include and elaborate an extra dimension, let us call it extra quality in their flow documention.
It is exciting, almost mysterious and nearly unexplainable, but it is there as a nerve in the book. And it is easy to catch both for people with fame and those without. Many interesting persons give much of themselves, either they are stars or become stars through this book. Inspiring!
Professor in pscychology Roald Bjørklund from the University of Oslo:  The book focusing on motivation and flow in daily life, by the authors
Nina Hanssen and Frans Ørstad Andersen is well written and easy to read.
The book introduce aspects related to human motivation but require no
prior knowledge in theories of motivation. The book addresses people
with general interests in human resources. In addition, people with some
knowledge in human motivation might as well be inspired by the stories
included in the book. Flow motivation theory is to be understood within the framework of applied positive psychology. Hence, people who work in daily relation with other people might find the book to be a helpful tool.

Frode Sørholt, chiropractor in Akutt Kiropraktikk, Norway:
The book "Flow in everyday life" hit me like a breath of fresh air, and I found myself smiling several times during the reading.  
I recognised myself in the description of the state of mind "flow", and it reminded me why I love my job; I get in to the "flow" quite often! The book will serve as a tool for anyone who has a everyday life with tight time schedules- as you can find flow also when you are very busy.
Carla Ardito, a yoga instructor and breath technique expert in New York, US:
As I continue to study the phenomenon known as "BREATHING",
 I find that I am simultaneously involved in the study of energy and flow.
There is so much still to discover about the organism known as 'human being' and Nina Hanssen and Frans Ørsted Andersen’s book is an excellent contribution to that study.

Line Einan
Training Manager in Norway:

From a trainers perspective finding flow is part of great performance. The moment you are able to put your motivation together with your professionalism, it equals performance. Flow is of course also part of everyday life.

The book gives everyday examples in aspects with several cases,  and as a trainer I see flow in my colleagues working with them - as they recieve immediate feedback on their performance. Use the book as an inspirational tool on changing results when interaction is present. Feedback is key.


Flow makes you happy!

You can be in flow without being creative, but you cannot be creative without being in flow. But what does it really mean to be in a state of flow and what can facilitate flow in modern life?
Flow is often described as magical moments and can occur when we engage in challenging activities that we have a chance to master.
This could happen during Christmas when you read a book, write a letter, skiing – or other sportsactivities or even in connection with our jobs or private lives. After a flow-experience you feel very happy and research shows that this is very good for your health.
Lao Tzu has inspired many people, even the great philosopher Confucius.  Lao Tzu also had a lot of wisdom words about flow. One of my favourite quote is “Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force.”
 I believe this is true and have a mission of spreading the knowledge of flow to Norwegians, to Europans and to the citizens of the world. Ambitious? Yes, why not? To make people more happy in their lives.
Research shows that in spite of increasing stress in our society some people manage to create their own flow zones in the middle of chaos. To experience flow on an individual level  you must find a balance between challenge and skills. Flow works as a mental retreat where there is no room for negative feelings or thoughts.
Me (Nina Hanssen) and Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi
The flow experience is characterized by alterations in our perception of time and self. When we experience flow, we experience deep enjoyment, creativity and total involvement with life. In other words: Flow makes us happy!
18.may 2010 I received a letter from the Hungarian professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who is the architect of the notion of flow, where he encouraged me to write this book about flow as a tool to help people navigate the stress in a modern everyday life.  In November 2012 I meet him again in Belgium. We visited the monastery in Westmalle together where his father Alfred spent the last years of his life.
Mihaly Csiksentmihalys words to me..
To learn more about this extraordinary man and his work with flow you can see a talk by him Hear Csikszentmihalyi .
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has contributed pioneering work to our understanding of happiness, creativity, human fulfillment and flow. He wrote some very nice words in my flowbook.(Se photo)
According to Csiksentmihaly flow involves:
  • A challenging activity that requires skills: This requires a fine balance: too high a challenge will produce anxiety; too easy an activity will produce boredom.
  • Clear goals and feedback: Good, immediate feedback allows the individual to know they have succeeded. Such knowledge creates ‘order in consciousnesses.
  • Concentration on the task at hand: When one is thoroughly absorbed in an enjoyable activity there is no room for troubling thoughts.
  • A sense of control: Here the actuality of being in control is not as important as the subjective sense of exercising control in difficult situations.
  • Loss of self-consciousness: The individual feels he or she is merging with the activity.
  • Transformation of time: Seconds may seem like hours. Hours might seem like seconds.
I will add the following factors that can facilitate flow in a stressful modern life to his original list:
  • Variation: doing something new – working in a new office, doing a new activity, doing the activity in a different way, at a new time, etc.
  • Travelling/commuting: working on the bus, in the train, on the ferry, in the plane, etc. (relation to “The Plateau Experience”(Buchler, 2011)
  • Activities in Nature. Organized or more informal activities in nature seem to be able to facilitate flow (also silence, quietness, distance, no demands)
  • Clicking: being together with persons with whom we click facilitates collective flow  (Brafmann & Brafmann).
  • Functional room design/ construction:  the workshop, the IT class, the cafe, etc.
  • Good work habits: do one activity at a time, finish one activity before starting a new one, etc.
  • Intensity variation: Organizing / structuring the day in periods of changing/ varying intensity – from high intensity to low intensity
  • Controlling the media/ the IT gadgets – not letting them control you
  • Establish quiet zones / periods where you are off-line and / or zones / periods with no gadgets.
  • Remain capable of having experiences and relatonships that are direct and perceived without media and IT
I have had a lot of respons from the public after I have had several workshop in flow in 2012. In order to spread the news about flow I also established my own company called FLOWCOM. Read more about  my speeches and workshop on  Homepage for my company .

Meanwhile. My advice to you is:

  Go with the flow. You may enjoy where it leads!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

GREAT FLOW AT ECPP 2012 IN MOSCOW

How can flow be seen as a tool for navigation in a modern everyday life that increasingly can be associated with paradoxically both stress, chaos and boredom?

What can facilitate flow in modern life?

 

These were the main questions I and Frans asked in our book “Flow in everyday life-navigation between stress, chaos and boredom” that was published in Norway in May this year.
This week in Moscow at the 6. European conference on positive psychology,  we had two official presentations of our new book.
 One presentation was a 15 minutes presentation in a common session  with other flow-reserachers called Flow in achievement chaired by Orin Davis.
 The next presentation was one hour workshop in Dvina room on Wednesday 27th june.  It was great to see so many people at our presentations and many professionals gave us positive feedback afterwards. Like this blogt-e-science.blogspot

I will not write about the whole presentation on this blog, but will give you some of the highlights. But as there are many definitions of flow, this is our definition:
Flow is a special state of mind that can occur when we engage in challenging activities that we have a chance to master. The flow experience is positive and characterized by  alterations in our perception of time and self. The state of flow is an optimal state of attention that can be described as situated between chaos/anxiety on one side and boredom/apathy on the other.

 




Monday, May 7, 2012

Flow as a tool for navigation between burnout and boreout


Isabella, Nina and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
 
Sorry for being so quiet over the last few weeks.  I had a booklauch of http://www.lagspillern.no/ and been busy with work and a magic travel to Jordan. 

Now, I am counted down to the lauch of the FLOW-book in Norway on the 25th May in Litteraturhuset in Oslo. I hope to see many of you there. The book will also be translated into Danish.

For my international friends I also have some news.
I and Frans Ørsted Andersen will hold a talk/workshop about the book at the this congress in Moscow https://webmail.lomedia.no/owa/redir.aspx?C=0358de3298274baf88bcb61b16ed78df&URL=http%3a%2f%2fwww.ecpp2012.ru%2f 
this summer. 

Here is a short summary of some of the topics we will speak about in Moscow.

As I have written in this blog earlier: Obtaining states of flow can be seen as an appropriate tool for navigation in modern complex life, at work, in education, in spare time or in time spent with relatives and friends.

Nowadays the zone between “boreout” and “burnout” seem to be very limited. In the Nordic countries (indeed all over the world) an increasing amount of people, even children, experience stress in daily life, whether at work or at home. Stress can be associated to both being challenged too much or too little.


Many studies show that the reasons for the growing amounts of stress are complex and often associated to interconnected factors.

For Example: Stress at work can often be seen as closely connected with stress in spare time: there’s either too much I ought to/ got to/ want to do or too little.  

The way people use media, smartphones, I-pads, laptops, etc. for communication, information search, work, shopping, entertainment, etc,  seem to be part of the problem: possibilites seem endless, but how can one find and decide for the appropriate and meaningfuld activity to engage in right now?

A solution for many is “to keep all channels open at all times”.

Even people who used to be good at concentrating for hours now experience unrest, unease and “wandering thoughts” after doing the same activity for just a few minutes.

Yet, some people seem to be able to handle this modern complex life very well by constantly seeking and establishing flow-zones whether working on a spreadsheet, cooking, teaching, nursing, communicating, playing the piano, composing a song, painting a picture, conducting scientific research, playing with the kids or just having coffee with friends at a café and so on.


The flow-book we will publish in Norway on the 25th May will show the readers some of the examples of people who manage well to navigate in this complex society.

 In the book we have interviewed around 20 different people from all walks of life in different professions from Norway and Denmark and  also spoke to some of the leading experts on the field of positive psycology.  Among them Hans Olav Lahlum who writes crime novels in flow while commuting on the train. The famous artist Pia Myrvold who’s in flow “all the time when working” and many other people. Among them also the former succesful soccer coach Nils Arne Eggen.  
In Moscow we will talk about their experience and share our thoughts about flow in the Nordic countries.
Hans Olav Lahlum in flow



I hope to see many of you at the lauch:-)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Night navigation during terror trial in Norway

Almost nine months after he inflicted the greatest national trauma on Norway since World War II, the terror trial of Anders Behring Breivik started in Oslo today. Many Norwegians are about to go into an emotional night navigation. But will we ever see the lights again?
I really hope so. Many of my collleagues and friends are among the 1,500 persons who are directly involved in the huge legal case.Some of them have experienced pain, horror and nighmares already.
Many of my Facebook friends had red roses and quotes from Labor songs as symbols on their Facebook status this morning.
I really did not know what to write. I tried, but had no words to express my feelings.
In July last year we heard the personal stories and read about how people struggle to survive on the horror afternoon. Now, this information and even more details will come up again.  In the public debate and in the media. And the next days we will also hear Anders Behring Breivik own view of this happening.
I felt sick when I opened this mornings newspapers with the photo of the smiling  uniformed 33-year old,  Anders Behring Breivik.
I felt angry and very sad at the same time.

The photos of the victims from the bomb-attack and massacre on the island of Utøya on the 22th July, made me cry. Again. As many other Norwegians I felt the horror in my heart.

But at the same time I felt proud of the youths and our politicians statements after the attack. 

When I passed the Prime Ministers office on my way to work this morning, I remembered the beautiful ocean of flowers, the red roses, dolls, letters and other personal items that I saw a few days after the attack. . I also remember the love among people in Oslo. We should also remember the songs about solidarity. It is a day to reflect and remember also the love.

I was trying hard to write something on my facebook, but today, my fingers refused to write about 22th July.

 I had too many mixed feelings in my mind and my body. And so did my colleagues.
Usually, I am a woman with many words. Written and spoken. But today, there were no words.
Breivik admits killing 77 people but pleads not guilty. From the footage he did not seem to regret anything.
The main point of the trial that will last for at least ten weeks in Oslo is to determine whether Breivik was sane or insane, and whether he can be held criminally liable for his actions.

The trial will last until 22.june this year. But I refuse to turn off the lights and go into night navigation with the murderer. I have decided to try to live as normal as I possible could during theres weeks of horror circus. 
I know that the weeks and months will be very difficult for many Norwegian families. And I also know that many Norwegians will need to talk about it.  But we should also try hard to live a normal life.
Several hundred journalists are in the city to cover the trial.
Also they will have a rought time trying to communicate what is going on in Oslo.

My biggest concern  is that I am  worried that Breivik will use the trial to promote his extremist political ideology.
He will probably try hard play his role to defend his extreme ideology.  We should be polite and listen, but we should not give him the extra minues and hours of fame that he wants. He wants to be famous.
But please: Refuse to play after Breviks tune. We should play a different melody. Maybe a love song. I believe it is important to show him and the world that most of us are caring and loving. 

If we became angry, bitter or anxious, Breivik will smile even more than he did today.

it looks like he want us to cry and feel bad. But we should not let him manipulate us. If you are feeling down, you should not watch the news from the court. People could easily go into a depression . We should not go into a night navigation with him.

The labour youth (AUF)-leader Eskil Pedersen encourages people today to live a normal life. He want us to go to school, to work and do normal thing instead of watching Brevivik.
The best thing is to try to stay normal and live a normal life. So to all of you:  Stay awake and keep the lights on. 
Never forget that most people want peace, not war!