Updated: Oct 30, 2018
by Mike Oppland
In the article All About Flow & Positive Psychology, author Mike Oppland provides an overview to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s theory of Flow. (Pronounced: Chick-sent-me-high)
Flow is a state of creativity. It is the experience of being happy.
Mike Csikszentmihalyi, a positive psychologist, developed the theory of flow after interviewing thousands of people in many walks of life and occupations, including artists, about how they feel when they were happy. The term “flow” came about because so many of those interviewed referred to a flow state or being “in the zone”. In Csiksentmihalyi’s own words, flow is:
“A state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”
– Csikszentmihalyi, 1990
Csikszentmihalyi believes that happiness is a controllable state, but it doesn’t happen without effort and attention. The author goes on to list 8 characteristics of flow including clarity of goals and a balance between the challenge on a person’s skill level.
The article includes two videos including a TED talk by Csikszentmihalyi “The Secret to Happiness”
Csikszentmihalyi has published numerous books and articles and much has been written about the science and psychology of Flow. His original book “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” is very readable.
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