Flow By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.pdfl
Csikszentmihalyi became a happiness researcher because of the adversity he faced growing up. He was a prisoner during World War II, and he witnessed the pain and suffering of the people around him during this time. As a result, he developed a curiosity about happiness and contentment.
Flow By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.pdfl
Csikszentmihalyi observed that many people were unable to live a life of contentment after their jobs, homes, and security were lost during the war. After the war, he took an interest in art, philosophy, and religion as a way to answer the question, What creates a life worth living?
Csikszentmihalyi interviewed athletes, musicians, and artists because he wanted to know when they experienced optimal performance levels. He was also interested in finding out how they felt during these experiences.
He aimed to discover what piques creativity, especially in the workplace, and how creativity can lead to productivity. He determined that flow is not only essential to a productive employee, but it is imperative for a contented one as well.
Interestingly, the capacity to experience flow can differ from person to person. Studies suggest that those with autotelic personalities tend to experience more flow. Such people tend to do things for their own sake rather than chasing some distant external goal. This type of personality is distinguished by certain meta-skills such as high interest in life, persistence, and low self-centeredness.
In a recent study investigating associations between flow and the five personality traits, researchers found a negative correlation between flow and neuroticism and a positive correlation between flow and conscientiousness (Ullén et al., 2012).
However, in a state of flow, this area is believed to temporarily down-regulate in a process called transient hypofrontality. This temporary inactivation of the prefrontal area may trigger the feelings of distortion of time, loss of self-consciousness, and loss of inner critic.
The experience of flow in everyday life is an important component of creativity and wellbeing. Indeed, it can be described as a key aspect of eudaimonia, or self-actualization, in an individual. Since it is intrinsically rewarding, the more you practice it, the more you seek to replicate these experiences, which help lead to a fully engaged and happy life.
Students rated flow to be more enjoyable when in a team rather than when they were alone. Students also found it more joyful if the team members were able to talk to one another. This finding was replicated even when skill level and challenge were equal (Walker, 2008).
A final study found that being in an interdependent group while experiencing flow is more enjoyable than one that is not (Walker, 2008). So, if you want to get more enjoyment out of flow, try engaging in activities together.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi believed creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives. A leading researcher in positive psychology, he devoted his life to studying what makes people truly happy: "When we are involved in [creativity], we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life." He was the architect of the notion of "flow" -- the creative moment when a person is completely involved in an activity for its own sake.Csikszentmihalyi taught psychology and management at Claremont Graduate University, focusing on human strengths such as optimism, motivation and responsibility. He was the director of the Quality of Life Research Center there. He wrote numerous books and papers about the search for joy and fulfillment.
Csikszentmihalyi, originally from Eastern Europe, came to the United States to start a career in psychology. He was especially intrigued by the sense of meaning in general, and the meaning of life in particular.
His now-famous Experience Sampling Study (a.k.a. Beeper Study) was a particularly inventive way to make happiness a measurable phenomenon. A group of teenagers were given beepers that went off during random times throughout the day. They were asked to record their thoughts and feelings at the time of the beeps. Most of the entries indicated that the teens were unhappy, but Csikszentmihalyi found that when their energies were focused on a challenging task, they tended to be more upbeat. This and other studies helped shape his seminal work on flow. His studies and subsequent findings gained still more popular interest and he is today considered one of the founding figures of positive psychology.
Maybe now you can understand why some people choose to spend so many hours contorted in such strange bodily positions: they are achieving a deep flow-like state and hence a strong sense of inner control and harmony. And indeed, the ultimate goal of Yoga is to achieve a state called moksha, a liberation from the self, described as combining three main qualities: sat-chit-ananda, or being, consciousness, and bliss. Using the flow model to describe spiritual practices such as yoga may help to explain why people who engage in such practices seem to be so happy and peaceful.
For example, the Id may give you an impulse to have that extra beer even though you know you have to get up early for work in the morning. The Superego could reinforce that impulse through peer pressure from your buddies at the bar. However, you still have the ability to reject these demands and choose to do what is best for yourself. Your Ego is what enables you take conscious control over the contents of your mind and hence achieve mastery over external forces. In these terms, then, flow can be described as the developed capacity of the Ego to master our instinctual/animal sides and the external pressures of the Superego.
Indeed, flow experiences often consist of painful bodily sensations, as when an athlete pushes himself beyond his normal limits in order to win a race, or rounds the bases to score the winning run. Despite the pain, these are the moments that people often recall as being the peak moments of their lives.
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly, & Csikzsentmihalyi, Isabella Selega (Eds.). (1988). Optimal Experience: Psychological studies of flow in consciousness. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly, & Csikzsentmihalyi, Isabella Selega (Eds.). (2006). A Life Worth Living: Contributions to Positive Psychology (Series in Positive Psychology). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi takes on the problem of how to live a happier life. A meaningful life is one where the person spends his time in a state of optimal experience called Flow. To live a great life, all your goals must be unified in a way that produces the maximum amount of flow. A hard read but one that will challenge your beliefs on happiness.
Surprisingly, work produces more flow experiences than leisure time. In research done by Csikszentmihalyi, people signaled experiencing flow 54% of the time at work. The number for leisure was much lower at 18%.
Csikszentmihalyi arrives at an insight that many of us can intuitively grasp, despite our insistent (and culturally supported) denial of this truth. That is, it is not what happens to us that determines our happiness, but the manner in which we make sense of that reality. . . . a deep cultural critique . . . the manner in which Csikszentmihalyi integrates research on consciousness, personal psychology and spirituality is illuminating.
In positive psychology, a flow state, also known colloquially as being in the zone, is the mental state in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by the complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting transformation in one's sense of time. Flow is the melting together of action and consciousness; the state of finding a balance between a skill and how challenging that task is. It requires a high level of concentration, however; it should be effortless. Flow is used as a coping skill for stress and anxiety when productively pursuing a form of leisure that matches one's skill set.
Those aspects can appear independently of each other, but only in combination do they constitute a so-called flow experience. Additionally, psychology writer Kendra Cherry has mentioned three other components that Csíkszentmihályi lists as being a part of the flow experience:
Flow is so named because, during Csíkszentmihályi's 1975 interviews, several people described their "flow" experiences using the metaphor of a water current carrying them along: "'It was like floating,' 'I was carried on by the flow.'"[failed verification]
Mihaly Csikszentmihályi and others began researching flow after Csikszentmihályi became fascinated by artists who would essentially get lost in their work. Artists, especially painters, got so immersed in their work that they would disregard their need for food, water and even sleep. The theory of flow came about when Csikszentmihályi tried to understand the phenomenon experienced by these artists. Flow research became prevalent in the 1980s and 1990s, with Csikszentmihályi and his colleagues in Italy still at the forefront. Researchers interested in optimal experiences and emphasizing positive experiences, especially in places such as schools and the business world, also began studying the theory of flow at this time.
Generally, people have the ability to decide what they will give their full attention to. This excludes basic distinctive feelings, such as hunger and pain. However, when one experiences flow, they are completely immersed in a certain activity. This is a subconscious phenomenon. People who are experiencing flow are no longer aware of the environment around them, such as the time, others around, distractions, and even basic bodily needs. However, when one is in the flow state, they are completely engrossed with the one task at hand and, without making the conscious decision to do so, lose awareness of all other things: time, people, distractions, and even basic bodily needs. According to Csikszentmihályi, this event occurs because all of the attention of the person in the flow state is on the task at hand; there is no more attention to be allocated. 350c69d7ab