FLOW Model

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When Self-actualization relates directly to learning this is an incredible feeling and a motivation to stay in this mental state of great excitement - a "flow". Flow is causing a feeling of self-efficacy and is motivating people to leave their comfort zones and face new challenges - a crucial aspect of voluntary civil engagement..

M. Csíkszentmihályi examined the conditions of this “flow” experience. He identified that the challenges a person faces and his or her own abilities are in relation to each other responsible for a feeling of flow, boredom or feeling overstrained. If challenges and abilities are well balanced, a person acts with passion and without feeling like he or she is exerting tremendous effort. Creative activity, play, and elaborate rituals seem to stimulate and foster intrinsic motivation more than competitive ones. [1]

Range of FLOW


Flow is produced by a host of changing variables. When we do something for the first time we feel excited. If we do it repeatedly, we feel secure. If we do it every day, there is a danger we will start to feel bored. Therefore, we have to be aware that activities that once produced flow may fail to have the same result in another situation. People need to learn about the causes of a flow and their contribution to it. The goal of reflection is here to enable people to find their healthy balance, being possible to work constantly in a motivated way and preventing a behavior similar to addiction, trying to increase the dose. A person who has been deprived of such “flow” activities might as well show symptoms that can include hunger, tiredness, sleepiness, sensitivity, and headaches. [2]


  1. M. Csíkszentmihályi: Beyond Boredom and Anxiety: Experiencing Flow in Work and Play; 1975 San Francisco; p. 59
  2. N. Zimmermann: Mentoring Handbook - Providing Systemic Support for Mentees and Their Projects; Berlin 2012; MitOst; ISBN 978-3-944012-00-1

Nils-Eyk Zimmermann

Nils-Eyk Zimmermann

Editor of Competendo. Coordinator of the project DIGIT-AL Digital Transformation in Adult Learning for Active Citizenship. Secretary of the DARE network. Topics: active citizenship, civil society, digital transformation, non-formal and lifelong learning, capacity building. Blogs here: Blog: Civil Resilience. Email: office@dare-network.eu




Mentoring Handbook

Providing Systemic Support for Mentees and Their Projects

MitOst editions, Berlin 2012, Online