Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Quotes Page 5
Books by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Sources
- All quotes by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (147 quotes)
- Creativity (6 quotes)
- Finding Flow (20 quotes)
- Flow (95 quotes)
- Good Business (1 quote)
- Other quotes by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (25 quotes)
Best 147 Quotes by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – Page 5 of 5
“The more a job inherently resembles a game — with variety, appropriate and flexible challenges, clear goals, and immediate feedback — the more enjoyable it will be regardless of the worker’s level of development.”
“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 from one’s shoulders. Power returns to the person when rewards are no longer relegated to outside forces.”
“The mystique of rock climbing is climbing; you get to the top of a rock glad it’s over but really wish it would go on forever.
The justification of climbing is climbing, like the justification of poetry is writing; you don’t conquer anything except things in yourself. The act of writing justifies poetry.
Climbing is the same: recognizing that you are a flow. The purpose of the flow is to keep on flowing, not looking for a peak or utopia but staying in the flow. It is not a moving up but a continuous flowing; you move up to keep the flow going.
There is no possible reason for climbing except the climbing itself; it is a self-communication.”
“The phenomenology of enjoyment has eight major components. When people reflect on how it feels when their experience is most positive, they mention at least one, and often all, of the following.
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 a deep but effortless involvement that removes from awareness the worries and frustrations of everyday life. Sixth, enjoyable experiences allow people to exercise a sense of control over their actions.
Seventh, concern for the self disappears, yet paradoxically the sense of self emerges stronger after the flow experience is over. Finally, the sense of the duration of time is altered; hours pass by in minutes, and minutes can stretch out to seem like hours.
The combination of all these elements causes a sense of deep enjoyment that is so rewarding people feel that expending a great deal of energy is worthwhile simply to be able to feel it.”
“The roots of the discontent are internal, and each person must untangle them personally, with his or her own power.”
“The roots of the word 'compete' are the Latin con petire, which meant 'to seek together'.”
“The tremendous leisure industry that has arisen in the last few generations has been designed to help fill free time with enjoyable experiences.
Nevertheless, instead of using our physical and mental resources to experience flow, most of us spend many hours each week watching celebrated athletes playing in enormous stadiums.
Instead of making music, we listen to platinum records cut by millionaire musicians. Instead of making art, we go to admire paintings that brought in the highest bids at the latest auction.
We do not run risks acting on our beliefs, but occupy hours each day watching actors who pretend to have adventures, engaged in mock-meaningful action.”
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“The ultimate test for the ability to control the quality of experience is what a person does in solitude, with no external demands to give structure to attention.”
“The way to grow while enjoying life is to create a higher form of order out of the entropy that is an inevitable condition of living. This means taking each new challenge not as something to be repressed or avoided, but as an opportunity for learning and for improving skills.”
“There are natives of New Guinea who spend more time looking in the jungle for the colorful feathers they use for decoration in their ritual dances than they spend looking for food.
And this is by no means a rare example: art, play, and ritual probably occupy more time and energy in most cultures than work.”
“There is a consensus among psychologists who study such subjects that people develop their concept of who they are, and of what they want to achieve in life, according to a sequence of steps.
Each man or woman starts with a need to preserve the self, to keep the body and its basic goals from disintegrating. At this point the meaning of life is simple; it is tantamount to survival, comfort, and pleasure.
When the safety of the physical self is no longer in doubt, the person may expand the horizon of his or her meaning system to embrace the values of a community — the family, the neighborhood, a religious or ethnic group. This step leads to a greater complexity of the self, even though it usually implies conformity to conventional norms and standards.
The next step in development involves reflective individualism. The person again turns inward, finding new grounds for authority and value within the self. He or she is no longer blindly conforming, but develops an autonomous conscience. At this point the main goal in life becomes the desire for growth, improvement, the actualization of potential.
The fourth step, which builds on all the previous ones, is a final turning away from the self, back toward an integration with other people and with universal values. In this final stage the extremely individualized person — like Siddhartha letting the river take control of his boat — willingly merges his interests with those of a larger whole.”
“This paradox of rising expectations suggests that improving the quality of life might be an insurmountable task. In fact, there is no inherent problem in our desire to escalate our goals, as long as we enjoy the struggle along the way.
The problem arises when people are so fixated on what they want to achieve that they cease to derive pleasure from the present. When that happens, they forfeit their chance of contentment.”
“Though the evidence suggests that most people are caught up on this frustrating treadmill of rising expectations, many individuals have found ways to escape it.
These are people who, regardless of their material conditions, have been able to improve the quality of their lives, who are satisfied, and who have a way of making those around them also a bit more happy.
Such individuals lead vigorous lives, are open to a variety of experiences, keep on learning until the day they die, and have strong ties and commitments to other people and to the environment in which they live.
They enjoy whatever they do, even if tedious or difficult; they are hardly ever bored, and they can take in stride anything that comes their way. Perhaps their greatest strength is that they are in control of their lives.”
“To be distracted against one’s will is the surest sign that one is not in control.”
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“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 develop the ability to find enjoyment and purpose regardless of external circumstances.”
“We can experience pleasure without any investment of psychic energy, whereas enjoyment happens only as a result of unusual investments of attention.”
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“People who believe in astrology? You should immediately subtract them 30 IQ points.”
“What I 'discovered' was that 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.
Happiness, in fact, is a condition that must be prepared for, cultivated, and defended privately by each person. People who learn to control inner experience will be able to determine the quality of their lives, which is as close as any of us can come to being happy.”
“When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”
“When children are taught music, the usual problem often arises: too much emphasis is placed on how they perform, and too little on what they experience.”
“When I see works that come close to my heart, that I think are really fine, I have the strangest reaction: which is not always exhilarating, it is sort of like being hit in the stomach. Feeling a little nauseous.
It’s just this sort of completely overwhelming feeling, which then I have to grope my way out of, calm myself down, and try to approach it scientifically, not with all my antennae vulnerable, open.
What comes to you after looking at it calmly, after you’ve really digested every nuance and every little thread, is the total impact. When you encounter a very great work of art, you just know it and it thrills you in all your senses, not just visually, but sensually and intellectually.”
“When people were pursuing leisure activities that were expensive in terms of the outside resources required — activities that demanded expensive equipment, or electricity, or other forms of energy measured in BTUs (British thermal unit), such as power boating, driving, or watching television — they were significantly less happy than when involved in inexpensive leisure.
People were happiest when they were just talking to one another, when they gardened, knitted, or were involved in a hobby; all of these activities require few material resources, but they demand a relatively high investment of psychic energy.
Leisure that uses up external resources, however, often requires less attention, and as a consequence it generally provides less memorable rewards.”
“When words are well chosen, well arranged, they generate gratifying experiences for the listener.
It is not for utilitarian reasons alone that breadth of vocabulary and verbal fluency are among the most important qualifications for success as a business executive. Talking well enriches every interaction, and it is a skill that can be learned by everyone.”
“Whenever the outside world offers no mercy, an internal symbolic system can become a salvation.”
“Whether we are happy depends on inner harmony, not on the controls we are able to exert over the great forces of the universe.”
“While happiness itself is sought for its own sake, every other goal – health, beauty, money or power – is valued only because we expect that it will make us happy.”
“Writing gives the mind a disciplined means of expression.”
Good Business Quotes
“Buddhists advise us to act always as if the future of the universe depended on what you did, while laughing at yourself for thinking that whatever you do makes any difference. This serious playfulness makes it possible to be both engaged and carefree at the same time.”
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“On a finite globe, the population cannot continue to grow indefinitely.”
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