Paperback: 334 pages
Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's famous investigations of "optimal experience" have revealed that what makes an experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called flow . During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life. In this new edition of his groundbreaking classic work, Csikszentmihalyi demonstrates the ways this positive state can be controlled, not just left to chance. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience teaches how, by ordering the information that enters our consciousness, we can discover true happiness and greatly improve the quality of our lives.。
WHAT IS FLOW?
Here's the crux of the book. While it examines overall "happiness" briefly, it is more concerned with how to truly enjoy the everyday moments of life. Mr. C refers to the process of “losing yourself” and experiencing Buddha-like enlightenment/self-actualization as a state of “flow.” Everyone—from professional athletes to chess masters and punk street kids—recalls a moment in which they seemed to disappear as a person, entirely immersed in the activity in which they were engaged (this differs greatly from drug use and other chemically altering activities, which are temporary fixes for those desperately needing to experience “flow”). Mr. C collected data from various cultures, professions, socio-economic conditions and stages of life, then discovered certain conditions present during “flow,” including:
(1) engagement in an activity that is both challenging and attainable (if the activity is too easy, we’re bored; if it’s too difficult, we’re anxious)
(2) the ability to keep concentration focused on the activity
(3) clearly defined goals that are within the individual’s control ("winning the Pulitzer Prize" is not a self-contained goal, for example, because you personally do not choose who wins the Pulitzer)
(4) immediate feedback (our psychic energy tends to atrophy without some verification we’re on the right track)
(5) deep, effortless involvement in the activity-which removes from awareness the worries/frustrations of everyday life (during flow, you “get lost” in what you are doing because so much of your psychic energy is engaged)
(6) sense of control over your own actions (more of that fighting-against-chaos definition of happiness)
(7) non-self-conscious individualism (paradoxically, you lose yourself in what you are doing and eliminate all self-criticism, yet when the process is complete you are actually a “more complex” individual. Mr. C states that “loss of self-consciousness does not involve a loss of the self, and certainly not a loss of consciousness, but rather, only a loss of consciousness OF the self.” THIS IS SO TRUE! As an actress and musician, my worst performances are always the ones in which I am self-conscious about the performance I am giving. There is no room for selfish awareness in flow!)
(8) some alteration of time (either “hours feel like minutes” or vice versa)
We can experience flow in our home, work, personal relationships, daily activities, everything! We just glance down the list, discover what condition is missing, and get creative. When situations challenge our happiness, we address the problem in a healthy, proactive way and again free up our psychic energy to work toward our life goals.