📖Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly
  • You can’t reach happiness by focusing on it (p.2)
  • p.2

    Ask yourself whether you are happy and you cease to be so. —J.S. Mill

  • It’s not an issue that we constantly raise our goals. It becomes a problem only when we are so fixated on goals that we stop deriving pleasure from process. (p.10)

  • Civilization is built on repression of individual desires (Freud’s idea) (p.17)

    • Related to Spiral Dynamics Stage Blue
  • By delaying gratification, we focus on the future and do not enjoy now. (p.16)
  • Consciousness is conscious events (sensation, feeling, thought, intention) and our ability to control their course (p.26)

    • In dreams we are not conscious for we can not control the course
  • Consciousness is a subjectively experienced reality for nothing exists for us unless we experience it (p.26)
  • Attention influences self and self directs attention (p.34)
  • Flow makes self more complex. (p.41–42) There are two aspect to complexity: differentiation and integration.

    • differentiation makes you more unique with unique skill set
    • unification unites you with others and the world
  • A person’s financial situation is one of the least important factors for happiness. (p.45)
  • Merging of action and awareness

    • All your skills are involved in the action, so no energy left to wander or notice anything else (p.53–54)
  • Clear goal and feedback

    • Unless a person learns to set goals and recognize feedback, they will not enjoy activity (p.55)

      • Dreyfus proficient level
  • Concentration on the task

    • cuts out the rest of the world
  • Flow experiences can become addictive to the point that people escape the real life (p.61–62)
  • Flow activities—some activities are designed to induce Flow stat. Examples are music, hobbies, games of varying kind, art, sport.
  • Schizophrenics “overinclude” signals. They are unable to filter out and control their attention (p.84)
  • p.93

    Gradually I learned to be indifferent to myself and my deficiencies; I came to centre my attention increasingly upon external objects: the state of the world, various branches of knowledge, individuals for whom I felt affection. —Bertrand Russel

  • Even walking can induce flow if additional goals are set. e.g. take shorter route move as much in shadow as possible (in summer) (p.97-98)
  • People seem to enjoy more when activities do not involve anything expensive. the best activities cost nothing (speaking with people) (p.99)
  • Yoga can be seen as designed activity to induce flow (pp.103-106)
  • p.119 the natural state of consciousness is entropy

    • TV helps organize attention at low cost
  • memory as flow activity
  • p.126 philosophy and science were invented because they are enjoyable
  • p.143 it seems that early hunter-gatherers spent 3–5 hours “working” → Hunter-gatherers spent 3–5 hours working
  • p.143 “Work gives man nobility, and turns him into an animal”
  • p.145 There is ample evidence that work can be enjoyable. And it is often the most enjoyable part of life → Work can be enjoyable


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