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Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi [pronounced: Me high, Cheeks send me high] (born 29 September 1934) is a Hungarian-American psychologist, famous for recognising & naming the psychological concept of flow, a highly focused mental state.
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- Flow: 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.
- The 8 Characteristics of Flow
- Complete concentration on the task
- Clarity of goals and reward in mind and immediate feedback
- Transformation of time (speeding up/slowing down of time)
- The experience is intrinsically rewarding
- Effortlessness and ease
- There is a balance between challenge and skills
- Actions and awareness are merged, losing self-conscious rumination
- There is a feeling of control over the task
- Quoted in Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: All About Flow & Positive Psychology(16 December 2016)
- Psychologists tend to see creativity exclusively as a mental process [but] creativity is as much a cultural and social as it is a psychological event. Therefore what we call creativity is not the product of single individuals, but of social systems making judgements about individual’s products. Any definition of creativity that aspires to objectivity, and therefore requires an intersubjective dimension, will have to recognise the fact that the audience is as important to its constitution as the individual to whom it is credited.
- A Systems Perspective on Creativity (June 1998)
Flow: the psychology of optimal experience (2008)
- The best moments in our lives, are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times—although such experiences can also be enjoyable, if we have worked hard to attain them. The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.
- Optimal experience is thus something that we make happen. For a child, it could be placing with trembling fingers the last block on a tower she has built, higher than any she has built so far; for a swimmer, it could be trying to beat his own record; for a violinist, mastering an intricate musical passage. For each person there are thousands of opportunities, challenges to expand ourselves.
- Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2008). Flow: the psychology of optimal experience. 1st Harper Perennial Modern Classics ed. New York, Harper Perennial.
- Csikszentmihalyi defines flow as “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.” He claims that these “flow experiences” comprise many of the best moments of our lives. Complete absorption in an intriguing, thought-provoking text is an ideal way to enter this state.
- By Jonah Dratfield in A defense of the book, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian (5 March 2018)
- When an athlete’s body and mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something challenging, such as shooting 60 in the final round of the Scottish Open, as Brandon Stone did last week, they are said to be in a state of flow. This almost intangible performance experience speaks directly to the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced: Me high? Cheeks send me high!). His suggestion was that people find genuine satisfaction when they are completely immersed in an activity that requires their creative abilities, in order to be successful on that task... Interestingly, since the introduction of ‘flow’ in the 1970s, it has become somewhat of a mystical, mythical part of sports performance.
- Dr Ed Coughlan in Going with the flow is easy, finding it is the hard part, Irish Examiner (20 July 2018)