Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the secret to happiness

[Thanks to Aniko]
So many people have promised us Happiness, that one starts to ignore it, like promises of more hair or longer dicks. But this lecture has some very interesting points. Not the least the chart at the end.


Ol'Ben said...

Thanks for finding this. Csikszentmihalyi's diagram definitely fires my imagination. Maybe I have spent too much time in "Management and Supervision" courses, but the first thing I did with it is designate the line running from eleven o'clock to five o'clock as the "boundary of effectiveness" where good work is getting done. Even your peak performers will not be in the Flow all of the time, and a manager cannot simply lay off people who just never happen to get there. The possibility to strive for: manage your team's skills and challenges, then try to guide, or even better, encourage them to guide each other, toward the Flow, the Zone, the Groove, or however their culture labels it.
Then I started thinking about three-dimensional overlays of error-rate, productivity, ... and decided that was getting a bit too "Cee-blankety-oh." }:^b

Eolake Stobblehouse said...


I think he has something important here.

I also think it's a bit limited by him looking only at happiness *within an activity*. There are quite many people who are amazingly good at what they do, they are super-flow at something. But outside it, when alone, relaxing, or in relationships or whatever, many of them are howlingly miserable.
van Gogh is an extreme example. Hard to imagine anybody working more purely in Inspiration. But when he was not putting brush to canvas, he was one of the most miserable people on the planet, in pain, a loser socially, economically, and romantically. I don' t think Mihaly's philosophy helps people like that. And to some degree, that is many people.