Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the secret to happiness

Watch this video and then comment with the following information by Friday 3/1.

  • What is the state of flow in your own words?
  • When have you experienced flow or something like it? What did it feel like? What were you doing?
  • What is essential for you (personally) to find your flow?

Recommended/Not Required reading: An interview with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi about web design http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/4.09/czik_pr.html (you will be able to pronounce his name if you read the introduction!)

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10 thoughts on “Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the secret to happiness

  1. The state of flow is when a person is completely happy and when everything else happening in their life can be forgotten for a while. Flow is when everything clicks and makes sense.
    I have experienced flow when i went on a vacation to California and spent the whole day at the beach. I was really relaxed and in a good mood all day. I was enjoying my time out there and i had no other thoughts on my mind. It just seemed like a perfect day. I hung out on the beach, walked on the pier and got ice cream.
    It’s essential for me to have flow enough to where i can be happy, but not too much to the extent that i can’t even appreciate it. Just working in a class and understanding everything that I’m hearing can put me into a state of flow. When I’m in the state of flow everything just seems to work out. Nothing seems out of place.

  2. This was a really inspiring video. It make you think, and I really like that. TED Talks are my new favorite thing to watch/do. Ever since the first TED Talk I watched, I enjoyed the feeling one gets from it.
    This TED Talk discussed flow, which, in my own words means when you are at ease and relaxed and everything comes together.
    In my own life, I have experienced flow many times, now that I think about it. Just yesterday, I had a history paper due and was frantically getting the required sources cited, editing and working on my presentation for my oral report on Ancient Roman Roads. I went to bed at 11:45 pm and just fell into that “ah” state of mind. It seems like I hadn’t sat down all day- well I did, but I was doing history :(. And I had this one moment where everything was completed and I had everything ready to hand into Mr. Hunt the next day. It is really a great feeling. I love school and schoolwork. I actually think that is my flow. But after working from 8 am to 11:30 pm, it gets tiring. And I really felt that everything “clicked” or fell into place.
    Mr. Csikszentmihalyi spoke about how things that may not be the most positive things in our lives, actually help us to “achieve” flow. Like arouse. It helps us get in that excited state of mind, and he even said that is the mood where much of the feeling of flow comes from.
    I have also feel flow when I am with people I love. My family, friends, neighbors, etc. I have this feeling of “Hey! I am with people who care about me and I care about them.” This is flow to me because I know I care about and love these people, and I know they feel the same way.
    Other times, like for example on the tennis court, when I go for a backhand hit (which is my worst hit, and usually the hardest for anyone!) and I make it over the net, I, again, get that “AH” moment. I can then say to myself “I did it! The ball made it over the net!
    For me to find flow in my life, I think I need the right resources. To be able to write a paper about Roman roads and to hit that tennis ball over the net requires the resources to do so. I don’t just mean the computer to type the paper on or the racket to hit the ball with- I mean the mental resources. You need to tell yourself, “I CAN DO THIS!!” I feel this way at the gym, when I am running on the treadmill, and I am so fatigued and out of breath, I want to stop and die. But I tell myself that I can go for another 1/4 of a mile. Or I can get an A on this paper.
    And with the people you love thing. You need to know people care for you. I think the biggest issue people have is that they think someone doesn’t like them, and they distance themselves from that person. I see this everyday at school. And the solution is to mentally know that they do love and care about you.
    This all is flow- finding that thing that makes you happy. Not only finding what makes you happy, but sticking with it. Regardless of what other people think.

  3. I’m not completely understand what he’s talking about. But I think the state of flow is what happens when you don’t need to try, and some better things just involuntary come to you. I think I have experienced that before, I was like really worry about something. But ended up screwed it up. And when I be cool and took easy to it, I just made it. And in order to find your own flow, I think you should just like “calm down and carry on “, be relax and no worries.

  4. The state of flow is when everything goes right and you don’t want it to stop. It’s like being on auto-pilot because you don’t have to think, but the plane still flies.
    I Have experienced flow when I went horseback riding with my family on vacation. It was a beautiful day and the scenery was great. I used to own horses so I was a confident rider. On the trip, I had so much fun because I was able to control the horse with ease, and I could take in everything around me at the same time. i felt so relaxed and like I could horseback ride for the whole day.
    It is essential for me to find my flow by having a happy state of mind and being confident in what I’m doing, like I’ve done it a hundred times before.

  5. Flow is a feeling people experience when they are working, when they love what they do, it no longer fees like work. I don’t think I’ve every experienced flow because there is nothing that I do for fun. The only thing I can think of is music. I really enjoy listening to music and when I am listening to music I feel happy and carefree.

  6. I think flow is when you really enjoying to do one thing and you will forget everything, even yourself. You will just focus on that thing, and you will feel happy from doing that thing. I am not sure if I have experienced flow or something like that. I mean I don’t think I have really enjoying one thing that I don’t even want to stop. Maybe when I learning to make a Flash or the robot I have experienced flow. I really like the stuff like that and enjoy to do that. To find my personal flow, I think I need to focus on one that I like and keep doing it.

  7. The state of flow is when you are doing something and it just kind of comes out and works without much conscious effort. You achieve the state of flow when you are doing something you enjoy and it challenges you at the same time.
    I have experienced the state of flow when playing soccer. It felt like i was in the zone and my body just seemed to work by itself without me really thinking about what i was doing.
    To find my flow i have to be doing something i really enjoy but challenges me at the same time. It has to be a healthy dose of the two

  8. In short: to me, the state of flow is constance. Never stopping, continuously moving.
    When I find my “flow” most often is when I am drawing or doing some form of art. It’s where my creativity can really come out, because with art, one can do so many different things. You aren’t limited to what is real and what isn’t. Whatever you want to do, you can.
    To find my flow, for me, it is essential that there be no negative distractions. For example, if I had just had an argument with someone close to me that day, I would find it very hard to focus on working. Something I usually do to prevent distractions is listen to music with my headphones in (the sound-canceling kind so you can’t hear anything but the music).

  9. I believe that flow is a continuous stage of something. It could be emotional or physical but never ending. Flowing like a river or a nicely written poem. I find my flow when I listen to music and ride my bike downtown. Everything is just out of mind all that I think about is what’s infront of me. To find my flow I have to clear my mind put my troubles on hold for a while and just enjoy life and the little things. Like the wind “flowing” past my face or the wheel spinning as fast as I can make them.

    When i’m in my stage of “flow” nothing can bother me. I’m constant looking out for cars, security and the rush just fuels me.

  10. I believe that flow is when you can forget about everything around you and be completely absorbed in what you are doing. I experience flow often when playing video games, reading a good book and watching a movie. Flow can make an unbearable time much more bearable. To find flow myself my, mind has to be in completely absorbed in what I’m doing. Flow is immersion.

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