Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, native form is Csíkszentmihályi Mihály

Mihaly
Csikszentmihalyi, native form is Csíkszentmihályi Mihály
1934

Hungarian Psychology Professor, Author, Head of Department of Psychology at University of Chicago and Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Lake Forest College, known for seminal book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Author Quotes

Like most creative people, he does not take himself too seriously... But that does not mean that he takes his vocation lightly; in fact, his views of poetry are as serious as any. His writing grows out of the condition of mortality: Birth, love, and death are the stalks onto which his verse is grafted. To say anything new about these eternal themes he must do a lot of watching, a lot of reading, a lot of thinking. Strand sees his main skill as just paying attention to the textures and rhythms of life, being receptive to the multifaceted, constantly changing yet ever recurring stream of experiences. The secret of saying something new is to be patient. If one reacts too quickly, it is likely that the reaction will be superficial, a clich‚.

Strand?s modus operandi seems to consist of a constant alternation between a highly concentrated critical assessment and a relaxed, receptive, nonjudgmental openness to experience. His attention coils and uncoils, its focus sharpens and softens, like the systolic and diastolic beat of the heart. It is out of this dynamic change of perspective that a good new work arises. Without openness the poet might miss the significant experience. But once the experience registers in his consciousness, he needs the focused, critical approach to transform it into a vivid verbal image that communicates its essence to the reader.

The poet?s responsibility to be a witness, a recorder of experience, is part of the broader responsibility we all have for keeping the universe ordered through our consciousness.

The theme of the poem emerges in the writing, as one word suggests another, one image calls another into being. This is the problem-finding process that is typical of creative work in the arts as well as the sciences.

To avoid blowing a fuse, he has developed a variety of rituals to distract himself: playing a few hands of solitaire, taking the dog for a walk, running ?meaningless errands,? going to the kitchen to have a snack. Driving is an especially useful respite, because it forces him to concentrate on the road and thus relieves his mind from the burden of thought. Afterward, refreshed by the interval, he can return to work with a clearer mind.

We?re only here for a short while. And I think it?s such a lucky accident, having been born, that we?re almost obliged to pay attention. In some ways, this is getting far afield. I mean, we are ? as far as we know ? the only part of the universe that?s self-conscious. We could even be the universe?s form of consciousness. We might have come along so that the universe could look at itself. I don?t know that, but we?re made of the same stuff that stars are made of, or that floats around in space. But we?re combined in such a way that we can describe what it?s like to be alive, to be witnesses. Most of our experience is that of being a witness. We see and hear and smell other things. I think being alive is responding.

When you?re right in the work, you lose your sense of time, you?re completely enraptured, you?re completely caught up in what you?re doing, and you?re sort of swayed by the possibilities you see in this work. If that becomes too powerful, then you get up, because the excitement is too great. You can?t continue to work or continue to see the end of the work because you?re jumping ahead of yourself all the time. The idea is to be so... so saturated with it that there?s no future or past, it?s just an extended present in which you?re, uh, making meaning. And dismantling meaning, and remaking it. Without undue regard for the words you?re using. It?s meaning carried to a high order. It?s not just essential communication, daily communication; it?s a total communication. When you?re working on something and you?re working well, you have the feeling that there?s no other way of saying what you?re saying.

A business is successful to the extent that it provides a product or service that contributes to happiness in all of its forms.

Strange as it may seem, life becomes serene and enjoyable precisely when selfish pleasures and personal success are no longer the guiding goals.

Wake up in the morning with a specific goal to look forward to.

Flow is 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.

Find a way to express what moves you.

One must develop skills that stretch capacities, that make one more than what one is.

If you do anything well, it becomes enjoyable. To keep enjoying something, you need to increase its complexity.

Produce as many ideas as possible. Try to produce unlikely ideas.

If an enterprise does not aspire to be the best of its kind, it will attract second-rate employees, and it will be soon forgotten.

Money, security and comfort may be necessary to make us happy, but they are definitely not sufficient.

Business leaders cannot begin to foster a climate of positive order if their sole concern is making a profit. They must also have a vision that gives life meaning, that offers people hope for their own future and those of their children.

Creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives . . . most of the things that are interesting, important, and human are the results of creativity . . . when we are involved in it, we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life.

Take charge of your schedule. Make time for reflection and relaxation.

The happiest people spend much time in a state of flow - the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.

Consciousness and emotion are there to correct your trajectory; when what you are doing is seamlessly perfect, you don’t need 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 we make happen.

The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.

If we know what that set point is, we can predict fairly accurately when you will be in flow, and it will be when your challenges are higher than average and skills are higher than average.

Author Picture
First Name
Mihaly
Last Name
Csikszentmihalyi, native form is Csíkszentmihályi Mihály
Birth Date
1934
Bio

Hungarian Psychology Professor, Author, Head of Department of Psychology at University of Chicago and Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Lake Forest College, known for seminal book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience