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Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life (Masterminds Series)

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Book Overview

From one of the pioneers of the scientific study of happiness, an indispensable guide to living your best life What makes a good life? Is it money? An important job? Leisure time? Mihaly... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Very poor service

Once again I ordered hardbacks and receive paperback books. This happens frequently. They're just not appear to be any place or method to have this rectified. If this continued it will cause me to select another bookseller.

Flow is sui generis

one of the most influential and profound books i have ever read.

What is a good life?

`What is a good life?', is basically the question addressed by this book. Well, isn't a good life just about being happy? Ok, but that is not the complete answer. For how do we become and stay happy? Not by watching TV, eating, or relaxing all day! In small doses these things are good and improve your daily life, but the effects are not additive. In other words: a point of diminishing returns is quickly reached. Also you don't become happy by having to do nothing. Csikszentmihalyi's research shows that both intrinsic motivation (wanting to do something) and extrinsic motivation (having to do something) are preferable to not having any kind of goal to focus your attention. Csikszentmihalyi argues that a life filled with `flow activities' is more worth living than one spent consuming passive entertainment. He says, the point is to be happy while doing things that stretch your goals and skills that help you grow and fulfil your potential. In other words: the content of your experiences over a lifetime determines the quality of your life. Then what exactly ìs `flow'? Is it just some vague new New Age concept? Not at all! It is precisely defined and well-researched. The experience if flow is the sense of effortless action we feel in moments that we see as the best in our lives. In order to have flow experiences you need clear goals/demands, immediate and relevant feedback and a balance between your skills and the demands. Then your attention becomes ordered and fully invested. Because of the total demand on you psychic energy you become completely focused, your self-consciousness disappears, as does your sense of time, yet you feel strong and competent. When in flow, you are not exactly happy, because you are not focused on your inner states (that would take away your attention from the task at hand). But looking back you are happy. Having flow experiences leads to growth and learning and improving your life becomes a question of making flow as much as possible a constant part of your everyday experience. Csikszentmihalyi describes how you can find flow in several important life domains. One domain is work. Often we short-sightedly spend a lot of energy to take the easy way and cut corners, trying to do as little as possible in our jobs. If we would spend the same amount of energy trying to accomplish more we would probably enjoy our work more and be more successful as well. To improve your work you can try to take the whole context of your job into account. Doing this you can better understand your contribution to the whole and understand and value your role more. This enables you to invest more energy and withdraw more meaning from your work. Further, to use flow at work you can try to establish a situation in which your job (an other people's jobs) provides clear goals, unambiguous feedback, a sense of control, few distractions and challenges that match your skills. Just as much as in work you can create flow in your family and other relationship

Match tasks with skills for best use of time

"Finding Flow" is an easy-read paperback subtitled "the psychology of engagement with everyday life". The thesis cut back to its core is that optimal experiences happen when you are highly challenged and have the skills to match, and that too many people spend their lives of quiet despiration being frustrated, anxious, apathetic or bored when the tasks that fill their day don't match up. Mihaly describes this state of "Flow" as a period of complete focus on the task, no distractions or irrelevant feelings, and a distorted sense of time. "In the harmonious focusing of physical and psychic energy, life finally comes into its own". You would hope that a book like this would be a pretty engaging read, or else it would have failed its stated purpose, and for the most part I was engaged while reading it. It tries to be a self-help book too, which I suppose is fair enough -- if you believe that this state of being is superior to being lazily happy sitting on the couch watching TV, then you might well want to preach its virtues.

Whatever You Call It, Flow is Real

Csikszentmihalyi defines "flow" as the feeling of effortlessness of action we experience at the best moments in our lives. People in flow are completely focused; self-consciousness and the awareness of time give way to full immersion in the moment. We usually attain flow when faced with clear and challenging goals that stretch our abilities without overtaxing them. Most often people have "flow experiences" when they engage in their favorite activities, whether playing or working. Csikszentmihalyi suggests that by paying close attention to what we do every day, and how we feel doing it, we can learn to maximize these positive moments and thus improve our psychic well-being.FINDING FLOW is not a sappy, vacuous self-help book for the masses--it reminds us intelligently, without cheerleading or condescension, that complaining about a lack of time is a common excuse for not taking control of our lives. It also tells us something we have often heard, but love to forget: flow comes when we have goals, not because achieving them is necessarily important, but because a lack of goals leads to a struggle to concentrate and avoid distractions. This passage reminded me of what my favorite classics professor once told us: "Without Ithaka, there is no Odyssey." Many great thinkers of the past (Homer, Carlyle, Dr. Seuss) have one way or another said what Csikszentmihalyi says; few have focused on happiness as happiness so successfully, and in so few pages. Find your flow!

How to experience more enjoyment in life.

This is a simpler, more practical book than Csikszentmihalyi's other popular work on the subject (Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience). He explains how you can apply the insights from his teams' experiments at the University of Chicago. They've been studying enjoyment for over thirty years -- what it is and how people create it. They are not studying simple pleasure, but real, enjoyable absorption in a task. Csikszentmihalyi originally studied artists and noticed it wasn't the end-product most good painters were after, it was the process of painting. He was surprised to see painters finish a painting and immediately set up another canvas to continue painting -- without even looking at the masterpiece they had just created. This intrigued him and so he has spent his lifetime exploring this interesting and enjoyable state he calls "flow", and he knows something about how we can have more of it in our lives. I'm the author of the book, Self-Help Stuff That Works, and I'm an expert on what is effective. Csikszentmihalyi's work is in that category. You can apply his insights and truly experience more enjoyable flow in your life.
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