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Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Audio Book New CD - The Psychology of Optimal Experience

About the Author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi:;

Mihály Csíkszentmihályi , born on September 29, 1934, is a psychology professor at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California and is the former head of the department of psychology at the University of Chicago and of the department of sociology and anthropology at Lake Forest College. He is noted for his work in the study of happiness, creativity, subjective well-being, and fun, but is best known as the architect of the notion of flow and for his years of research and writing on the topic. He is the author of many books and over 120 articles or book chapters. Martin Seligman, former president of the American Psychological Association, described Csikszentmihalyi as the world's leading researcher on positive psychology. He is one of the most widely cited psychologists today,in a variety of fields related to psychology and business.

He received his B.A. in 1960 and his Ph.D. in 1965, both from the University of Chicago. He is the father of MIT Media Lab associate professor Christopher Csíkszentmihályi and University of Wisconsin at Madison professor of Philosophical and religious traditions of China and East Asia, Mark Csikszentmihalyi.


In his seminal work, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Csikszentmihalyi outlines his theory that people are most happy when they are in a state of flow— a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. The idea of flow is identical to the feeling of being in the zone or in the groove. The flow state is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation, where the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing. This is a feeling everyone has at times, characterized by a feeling of great freedom, enjoyment, fulfillment, and skill—and during which temporal concerns (time, food, ego-self, etc.) are typically ignored.

In an interview with Wired magazine, Csikszentmihalyi described flow as "being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost." [2]

To achieve a flow state, a balance must be struck between the challenge of the task and the skill of the performer. If the task is too easy or too difficult, flow cannot occur.

The flow state also implies a kind of focused attention, and indeed, it has been noted that mindfulness meditation, yoga, and martial arts seem to improve a person's capacity for flow. Among other benefits, all of these activities train and improve attention.

In short; flow could be described as a state where attention, motivation, and the situation meet, resulting in a kind of productive harmony or feedback.

According to Professor Csikszentmihalyi, a joyful life "is an individual creation that cannot be copied from a recipe....Happiness, in fact, is a condition that must be prepared for, cultivated, and defended privately by each person."

"Many people feel that the time they spend at work is essentially wasted?they are alienated from it, and the psychic energy invested in the job does nothing to strengthen their self," he observes. "For quite a few people free time is also wasted. Leisure provides a relaxing respite from work, but it generally consists of passively absorbing information, without using any skills or exploring new opportunities for action. As a result life passes in a sequence of boring and anxious experiences over which a person has little control."

But it doesn't have to be this way. During his years of research the professor has identified a state of happiness that he calls "flow." When an individual is engaged in a well defined task of his own choosing that is both challenging and within his capacities, he will experience "optimal experience" during its performance. This is "flow."

A flow-type experience includes one or more of the following features. (1) A task we have a possibility of completing. (2) Ability to concentrate on the task. (3) The task has clear goals and provides immediate feedback. (4) We act from a deep but effortless involvement that removes quotidian concerns. (5) We have a sense of control. (6) Concern for self disappears during the task, but the sense of self is stronger after the flow experience is over. (7) The sense of the passage of time alters.

"For more than 30 years I have been studying happiness," says Csikszentmihalyi. "My interest in this subject came from my own experience during World War II when, as a child, I saw many adults being completely destroyed by the tragic events of the war. Among these people there were always a few who kept their courage, reached out to help others, and were able to give a sense of purpose and meaning to their lives. I wanted to discover about how one could build a life that was more fulfilling and enjoyable. I chose the discipline of psychology to seek out some answers."

In Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, the professor explores what makes life worth living through interviews with the great achievers of our time. His research confirms that people are most likely to experience "flow" when immersed in creative work that they love. Csikszentmihalyi thus provides a scientific basis for the experience of the fictional Howard Roark, for whom the job of architecture is a combination of "holy sacrament, Indian torture and sexual ecstasy."

In the search for life, happiness, and meaning there are many mentors available to us. Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is one of the greatest."


;Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi - Audio Book CD

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