Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi starts by telling about his early years growing up in Europe; as a teen he dabbled in art, religion and philosophy before finding psychology. The focus of his research has been to understand the nature of happiness. As you watch, pay attention to what contributes to happiness, and what does not. After you watch After you watch Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, view the talk by Martin Seligman; what are the similarities and differences in their findings?

Why you should listen:

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives. A leading researcher in positive psychology, he has devoted his life to studying what makes people truly happy: “When we are involved in [creativity], we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life.” He is the architect of the notion of “flow” — the creative moment when a person is completely involved in an activity for its own sake.

Who is he:

Csikszentmihalyi teaches psychology and management at Claremont Graduate University, focusing on human strengths such as optimism, motivation and responsibility. He’s the director the Quality of Life Research Center there. He has written numerous books and papers about the search for joy and fulfillment.


  1. Why has the past focus been on peak or pinnacle experience, instead of the experience of the common person?
  1. What is flow?
  1. Do the people that he interviewed experience flow in the same ways? What is similar? What is different?
  1. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi gives examples of flow in the market place; research the life of another person who has flow and write a brief biography.
  1. He describes one way that he attempts to measure flow; propose some additional strategies.
  1. Have you ever experienced flow in your life? Write an essay about it. In your write up, interview someone else and ask them for their experience with flow.

Flow, the secret to happiness with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi


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