Why some people excel and others don’t (come on England)

This blog on expertise and the concept of flow may have a very short shelf life, depending on what happens in Russia on Wednesday 11 of July circa 7.00pm when England kick off against Croatia in the semi-final of the World Cup.

Lose and the feel-good football fever that has gripped the nation during an unprecedented heatwave will quickly evaporate (and I’ll have to write another intro and republish).

Win and footballing immortality beckons for Gareth Southgate and his England squad as pundits and journalists seek to explain the reasons behind England’s success.

One of the reasons the team is doing well is the fact so many players are experiencing flow, defined by its creator Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi as being primarily concerned with the quality of individual subjective experience and the ways in which it is possible to be immersed in an activity for its own sake rather than for any extrinsic reward.

Although all these footballers will end up being millionaires many times over, I am sure they would also happily put in the same performances for a tenth of the wage packet to be crowned the best in the world.

Ditto tennis stars Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal who are heading serenely towards a centre court final date on the same day as Harry Kane (fingers crossed) is leading England out onto the pitch in Moscow.

Roger and Rafael have achieved so much in the tennis world that you wonder what continues to motivate them. From my point of view, flow has to be involved in the equation.

Flow is explored in Investigating Flow in the Music Classroom (ISBN  97819999826070 price £9.99) by Catherine Preston. The book is published by Six10 Publishing at the end of this week.

A former music teacher and musician, Catherine has always been intrigued by the psychology behind creativity in the secondary school music classroom. She wanted to know why does one pupil excel at music while others struggle?  A eureka moment arrived when she heard academic John Sloboda chatting about The Tingle Factor on BBC Radio Four.  The conversation immediately captured her imagination, linking two loves, music and psychology.

Catherine embarked upon a doctoral research journey where she focused on classroom composing at two secondary schools in the North West of England.

The book provides a full version of her thesis together with an updated review of the latest flow research, ideas for further research and links to related papers and articles on her website at www.catherinepreston.co.uk.

Her mission is to share with as many people as possible her passion for flow. Flow is compelling and fascinating, not only for understanding how and why musicians are driven to practice, play and perform but for understanding anyone who wants to be the best they possible can be in their chosen field.

The research design in her thesis shows how both qualitative and quantitative research methods have been utilised provide a wealth of reliable and useful data.

The work will be useful for anyone planning research in the arts, sport, work or play  across a wide range of topics in the areas of motivation, engagement and achievement.

From a PR and marketing perspective, publishing a book like Investigating flow in the Music Classroom is one of the most effective ways to communicate your expertise and show thought-leadership.

At the same time, it is a great example of repurposing content in new, accessible and easy-to-read formats.

One of the reasons Catherine wanted to publish her research as a book was because academics from across the globe wanting a copy of her original dissertation.

Academics like to share their expertise and to contribute to the debate – and owner-managers operating in niche sectors are no different.

If you want to stand out from the crowd, writing your own book differentiates you from your competitors. It also creates numerous opportunities (online and in real life) for people to engage with you. And it helps your customers see their own businesses in a new light.