Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
version 11, draft 11

Harnessing Your Skills Through Challenges

Do you have what it takes to be an excellent employee? Do you know how to handle critical issues and challenges that you encounter in your workplace? Do you know how to develop your skills and improve those that you already possess? Then try studying a graph that will help you be a competent worker.

Take a look at the graph below. It was created by Mihaly Csiksentimihaly, a psychology pioneer.



The graph shows the flow channel in a white diagonal line, wherein the “flow” is referred to as a sense of happiness that you feel when things happen accordingly.

The “flow” is said to be the result of an achievement and it is referred sometimes by sports enthusiasts as “being in or entering the zone”, while musicians and artists think of it as “aesthetic rapture”.

The flow channel according to Mihaly is a guide that assists workers become excellent or happy in their career or job. He said in addition that it is definitely different from what you call the “passive pleasures” that you experience when you are in a healthy and contented relationship, had a good rest and relaxation or simply taking a good walk during a bright and sunny day, since all of these require and depend much on external or outside circumstances.

If you take a good look at the graph and study it well, you will realize that in order for the “flow” to happen or to be achieved, an activity or a challenge needs to be at the right level of engagement with your given skills. If the challenge is just too great for you, you will feel anxious and overwhelmed; and if the challenge is just too simple and easy, then you will suffer boredom.

You can observe in the graph, there are A1, A2, A3, and A4. But A1 and A4 are located inside the white diagonal line or the flow channel. The A1-A4 is a representation of the interaction of your skills and the challenges you encounter, and the gray areas in the graph represent the result of your skill used in a certain challenge.

According to Dr. Jim Stone, a writer and philosopher, you will become competent and successful with your work if you know how to handle the challenges in your workplace by using or developing your skills.

Stone said that you can advance from A1 to A4 (wherein you don’t have to be anxious or bored for the longest time in your work) in the flow channel either of these ways:

  • You can go from A1 to A2, and then to A4. In this way, you can discover and develop new skills without much activity or challenge. And by the time you feel confident with those skills and you are getting bored with the way you are wielding it. You can take on an activity or challenge that will utilise those skills. With those newly developed skills, you will be able to handle new challenges that making you competent and successful as you go on with your work.
  • You can go from A1 to A3, and then to A4. In this way, you go through a challenge before acquiring the skills needed to face the challenge. This in turn makes you feel anxious, and that anxiety helps you create the skills required for the challenge. Despite the anxiety you feel, you will possess skills that are useful or required to face more difficult challenges and trials, which will help you achieve success as you handle them with ease.

With this graph, you will be able to understand the things you have to do in order to develop new skills and improve those that you already possess by facing challenges. These challenges, obstacles and trials will be a great help for you to harness the needed skills to make you a happy, competent and successful employee.

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