The Challenge-Skills Bumpers: How 4% Keeps You Focused and On the Lane

In bowling, beginners start with bumpers that keep the ball on the lane, allowing the roller to have automatic success.

When it comes to flow and performance, 4% is the bumpers.

No matter the task you do, vary the challenge and skills plus or minus that 4% of your current level.

It’s not a matter if you hit the “sweet spot” where everything magically falls into place because life (and humans) don’t work that way all that often.

More often than not we’re imperfect, and that’s a great thing.

Check out Noah Falstein’s challenge-skills graph below.

It shows variance and novelty, or irregular oscillation between anxiety and boredom within the flow channel, which piqued gamers’ engagement the most — too little, too much, and just right.

Just get started.

Too easy? Lean in.

Too much? Back off.

Just right? Roll on.

It’s the variance in challenge that makes us pay attention, when we keep on the lane and between those 4% challenge-skills bumpers.



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Kevin Votaw

Kevin Votaw

Flow Coach. Applying flow in school, sports, and life: ❌ Flow x Fiero ♦️North of Happy ⚾ The Pitching DJ 🧠