Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives. A leading researcher in positive psychology, he has 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 is the architect of the notion of “flow” – the creative moment when a person is completely involved in an activity for its own sake.
Increase in material well being does not seem to affect how happy people are and the lack of basic resources, material resources, contributes to unhappiness, but the increase in material resources do not increase happiness. He looks to those who find pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring about a state of “flow.
When children play they are in “the flow” – totally immersed, passionate and timeless. We are all born with the ability to achieve the flow by turning off our internal self critic.
Flow is all about allowing yourself to get lost in the doing of an action, instead of allowing your mind to wander away from what is occurring, but how does it feel?
Here is Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi‘s list:
1. Completely involved in what we are doing – focused, concentrated.
2. A sense of ecstasy – of being outside everyday reality.
3. Great inner clarity – knowing what needs to be done, and how well we are doing.
4. Knowing that the activity is doable – that our skills are adequate to the task.
5. A sense of serenity – no worries about oneself, and a feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of the ego.
6. Timelessness – thoroughly focused on the present, hours seem to pass by in minutes.
7. Intrinsic motivation – whatever produces flow becomes its own reward.
Watch the full TED talk here: