Sunday, June 25, 2006

There's a psychologist out there who goes by the unfortunate name of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. But don't let his unpronouceable name fool you, he's all about fun, actually he's all about placing fun under a microscope and dissecting it. Csikszentmihalyi, in 1994, published a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience in it he defines a new phenomenon that connects the common thread running through the various types of fun humans experience. Definition of flow: the sensation of exhilaration one feels when engaged in an activity for the activity's sake, not to attain some tangible result. The example he uses is of a painter who encounters the greatest joy during the period when his work is taking shape but places his work aside when that "shape-taking" process is over. What is peculiar about this is the painter doesn't do this because he wants his art displayed in a gallery, he does this because he enjoys the act of painting. This essay explains flow in greater detail. It seems to me that Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience is a progenitor to a recent, more popular work called Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell. Both contend that stored in our mental toolboxes are tools everybody can access to improve their lives if they just wish to sit down and take the time to acquire the necessary skills. The two concepts, in my mind, are quite motivational and life-affirming.


sally said...

thanks so much! I really appreciate it. :) p.s. is there any way you could explain how to do links on the blog page? I just can't seem to figure it out. thanks again!

Ming said...

Interesting. I didn't fully understand that concept until I quit curling after a year of varsity and being treated like a second class citizen on my team. I wasn't great, but I was good enough to compete at a provincial level and I realized that I didn't enjoy being out on the ice because I was successful. I'm going back to it this year and I think I'll have something I truly enjoy doing for its intricacies and to see how I can better myself; the success is always secondary to the experience.