Flow is a cognitive state where one is completely immersed in an activity—from painting and writing to prayer and surfboarding. It involves intense focus, creative engagement, and the loss of awareness of time and self.
The process of flow was discovered and coined by the Hungarian-American psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. In the 1960s, Csikszentmihalyi studied the creative process and found that, when an artist was in the course of flow, they would persist at their task relentlessly, regardless of hunger or fatigue. He also found that the artist would lose interest after the project was completed, highlighting the importance of the process and not the end result.