Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

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Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi - ToolsHero

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a professor of Hungarian descent with a special interest in positive psychology. He has lived in the United States since he was twenty-two and works at the private Claremont Graduate University as a professor and researcher. Most people know him from the Flow model.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi biography

He obtained both his Bachelor’s degree (BSc.) and his doctorate (Ph.D.) from the University of Chicago.

In his scientific years, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi became known for his research into happiness and creativity. Years of research and study around the flow concept have gained him recognition and produced many publications. 

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is regarded as the leading researcher in the area of research within positive psychology. His works are influential and are cited and used internationally.

In his ground-breaking work Flow, the psychology of the optimal experience, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes in his theory that people are happiest when they are in a state of flow.

This is a state of mind in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. In order to achieve flow there must be a balance between the challenge of the task or activity and the skills of the performer.

Flow is a form of goal-oriented attention and can be found in meditation, yoga and martial arts.

Flow contributes towards improvement of personal ability according to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi quotes

  1. “Happiness is not something that happens. It is not the result of good fortune or random chance. It is not something that money can buy or power command. It does not depend on outside events, but, rather, on how we interpret them.”
  2. “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….For each person there are thousands of opportunities, challenges to expand ourselves.”
  3. “It is possible to experience a feeling of control unless one is willing to give up the safety of protective routines.”
  4. “It is not skills we actually have that determine how we feel, but the ones we think we have.”
  5. “It is not the hearing that improves life, but the listening.”
  6. “Great thinkers have always been motivated by the enjoyment of thinking rather than by the material rewards that could be gained by it.”
  7. “Entering any relationship entails a transformation of the self.”
  8. “It is in the company of friends that we can most clearly experience the freedom of the self and learn who we really are.”
  9. “To be distracted against one’s will is the surest sign that one is not in control.”
  10. “External supports by themselves are not that effective in mitigating stress. They tend to help only those who can help themselves.”

Publications by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi et al.

  • 2014. Flow and the Foundations of Positive Psychology. Springer.
  • 2013, 1996. Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. Harper Perennial.
  • 2008, 1990. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Harper and Row.
  • 2006. Studyguide for Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Cram101.
  • 2004. Good Business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning. Basic Books.
  • 2003. Creativity and Development. Oxford University Press Inc.
  • 2002. Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet. Basic Books.
  • 2000, 1975. Beyond Boredom and Anxiety: Experiencing Flow in Work and Play. Jossey-Bass.
  • 1999. Flow in Sports: The Keys to Optimal Experiences and Performances. Human Kinetics Publishers.
  • 1998. Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement With Everyday Life. Basic Books.
  • 1996. Talented Teenagers: the Roots of Success and Failure. Cambridge University Press.
  • 1994. The Evolving Self. Harper Perennial.
  • 1988. Optimal Experience: Psychological studies of flow in consciousness. Cambridge University Press.
  • 1981. The Meaning of Things: Domestic Symbols and the Self. Cambridge University Press.
  • 1978. Intrinsic Rewards and Emergent Motivation in The Hidden Costs of Reward, New Perspectives on the Psychology of Human Motivation eds Lepper, Mark R; Greene, David, Erlbaum: Hillsdale: NY 205-216.

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