All posts under Csikszentmihalyi

233/365 From our skills and knowledge

Let us hope none of us will be forced to call upon symbolic skills to survive concentration camps or arctic ordeals. But having a portable set of rules that the mind can work with is of great benefit even in normal life. People without an internalized symbolic system can all[…]

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226/365 Not dull

A similar argument holds for turning a job that lacks challenge and variety into one that satisfies our need for novelty and achievement. Here too one needs to expend additional psychic energy to reap the desired benefits. Without some effort a dull job will just stay dull. From “Finding Flow:[…]

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203/365 Life has meaning when

An experience is meaningful when it is related positively to a person’s goals. Life has meaning when we have a purpose that justifies our strivings, and when experience is ordered. From “Flow: The Psychology of Happiness” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

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202/365 The argument against freedom

Therefore freedom does not necessarily help develop meaning in life—on the contrary. If the rules of a game become too flexible, concentration flags, and it is more difficult to attain a flow experience. Commitment to a goal and to the rules it entails is much easier when the choices are[…]

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201/365 Finding meaning

The most important step in emancipating oneself from social controls is the ability to find rewards in the events of each moment. If a person learns to enjoy and find meaning in the ongoing stream of experience, in the process of living itself, the burden of social controls automatically falls[…]

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198/365 Integration / individuality

A self that is only differentiated—not integrated—may attain great individual accomplishments, but risks being mired in self-centered egotism. By the same token, a person whose self is based exclusively on integration will be connected and secure, but lack autonomous individuality. Only when a person invests equal amounts of psychic energy[…]

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196/365 Flooded with gratitude

Only after the task is completed do we have the leisure to look back on what has happened, and then we are flooded with gratitude for the excellence of that experience-then, in retrospect, we are happy. From “Finding Flow: The Psychology Of Engagement With Everyday Life” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

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195/365 To live means to experience

To live means to experience-through doing, feeling, thinking. Experience takes place in time, so time is the ultimate scarce resource we have. Over the years, the content of experience will determine the quality of life. Therefore one of the most essential decisions any of us can make is about how[…]

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187/365 A sense of deep enjoyment

First, the experience usually occurs when we confront tasks we have a chance of completing. Second, we must be able to concentrate on what we are doing. Third and fourth, the concentration is usually possible because the task undertaken has clear goals and provides immediate feedback. Fifth, one acts with[…]

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186/365 Achieving control over experience

To overcome the anxieties and depressions of contemporary life, individuals must become independent of the social environment to the degree that they no longer respond exclusively in terms of its rewards and punishments. To achieve such autonomy, a person has to learn to provide rewards to herself. She has to[…]

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