Flow - The Classic work on how to achieve happiness by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi


Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi


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Decoding Our Pursuit of Happiness

Mihaly spent over 20 years researching the topic of Flow - a state of enjoyment where one is so engrossed in the activity that you lose track of time. Here are some notes from his book.

Best moments happen when a person's body or mind is usually stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience is hence something we make happen

State of flow is when you are immersed in an activity you so enjoy that you would choose to do so even at high costs.

Flow theory can point the way for improving the quality of life.

Own goals vs society's goals. Not too much motivated by pain and rewards of pursuing society's goals.

Find rewards in the events of each moment. Way to break away from society's controls.

Flow is about channeling the psychic energy which otherwise would be wasted in boredom and worry.

Flow needs a balance of differentiation and integration. It leads to not only enjoyment of the present moment/activity but also builds self confidence to grow in skills and impact humankind

To improve life, one must improve the quality of experience.

To gain control over the quality of experience, one needs to build enjoyment into what happens day in day out.

Pleasure vs enjoyment. Pleasure doesn't require any attention. Enjoyment needs attention. Self changes/grows due to something we enjoy.

Common Elements of enjoyment in any acitivity
1. When we confront tasks we have a chance of completing
2. Must be able to concentrate.. merging of action and awareness
3. Task Has clear goals
4. Task Provides feedback
5. Deep but effortless involvement, removes awareness of worries and frustrations of everyday life
6. Allows one to Exercise a sense of control over their actions
7. Concern for the self disappears. Yet the sense of self emerges stronger.
8. Sense of duration/time is altered.

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