Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Quotes
Books by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
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- 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 20 Finding Flow Quotes by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Finding Flow Quotes
“According to the Greek philosophers, we become truly human by devoting time to self-development, to learning, to the arts, to political activity.
In fact the Greek term for leisure, 'scholea', is the root from which our word 'school' comes from, since the idea was that the best use for leisure was to study.”
“Even if we don't want to admit it, the ability to overcome most obstacles is within our hands.”
“For better or for worse, at this time science is still the most trustworthy mirror of reality, and we ignore it only at our peril.”
“If one has failed to develop curiosity and interest in the early years, it is a good idea to acquire them now, before it is too late to improve the quality of life. To do so is fairly easy in principle, but more difficult in practice. Yet it is sure worth trying.
The first step is to develop the habit of doing whatever needs to be done with concentrated attention, with skill rather than inertia. Even the most routine tasks, like washing dishes, dressing, or mowing the lawn become more rewarding if we approach them with the care it would take to make a work of art.
The next step is to transfer some psychic energy each day from tasks that we don’t like doing, or from passive leisure, into something we never did before, or something we enjoy doing but don’t do often enough because it seems too much trouble.
There are literally millions of potentially interesting things in the world to see, to do, to learn about. But they don’t become actually interesting until we devote attention to them.”
“If you are interested in something, you will focus on it, and if you focus attention on anything, it is likely that you will become interested in it. Many of the things we find interesting are not so by nature, but because we took the trouble of paying attention to them.”
“In principle any skill or discipline one can master on one’s own will serve: meditation and prayer if one is so inclined; exercise, aerobics, martial arts for those who prefer concentrating on physical skills. Any specialization or expertise that one finds enjoyable and where one can improve one’s knowledge over time.
The important thing, however, is the attitude toward these disciplines. If one prays in order to be holy, or exercises to develop strong pectoral muscles, or learns to be knowledgeable, then a great deal of the benefit is lost.
The important thing is to enjoy the activity for its own sake, and to know that what matters is not the result, but the control one is acquiring over one’s attention.”
“It is how we choose what we do, and how we approach it, that will determine whether the sum of our days adds up to a formless blur, or to something resembling a work of art.”
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“It was found that the more often people report reading books, the more flow experiences they claim to have, while the opposite trend was found for watching television.”
“Luckily, the world is absolutely full of interesting things to do. Only lack of imagination, or lack of energy, stand in the way. Otherwise each of us could be a poet or musician, an inventor or explorer, an amateur scholar, scientist, artist, or collector.”
“One cannot lead a life that is truly excellent without feeling that one belongs to something greater and more permanent than oneself.”
“Shortcuts are dangerous; we cannot delude ourselves that our knowledge is further along than it actually is.”
“The apologists for the medium claim that all sorts of interesting information is provided by television. This is true, but as it is much easier to produce programs that titillate rather than elevate the viewer, what most people watch is unlikely to help in developing the self.”
“The only path to finding out what life is about is a patient, slow attempt to make sense of the realities of the past and the possibilities of the future as they can be understood in the present.”
“The quality of life does not depend on happiness alone, but also on what one does to be happy. If one fails to develop goals that give meaning to one's existence, if one does not use the mind to its fullest, then good feelings fulfill just a fraction of the potential we possess.
A person who achieves contentment by withdrawing from the world to 'cultivate his own garden', like Voltaire's Candide, cannot be said to lead an excellent life. Without dreams, without risks, only a trivial semblance of living can be achieved.”
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“The roots of interpersonal conflict are often an excessive concern for oneself, and an inability to pay attention to the needs of others. It is sad to see how often people ruin a relationship because they refuse to recognize that they could serve their own interests best by helping others achieve theirs.”
“The sacred books of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and the Veda are the best repositories of the ideas that mattered most to our ancestors, and to ignore them is an act of childish conceit. But it is equally naive to believe that whatever was written down in the past contains an absolute truth that lasts forever.”
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“It’s alarming to face the prospect that you might never truly feel as though you know what you’re doing, in work, marriage, parenting, or anything else.
But it’s liberating, too, because it removes a central reason for feeling self-conscious or inhibited about your performance in those domains in the present moment: if the feeling of total authority is never going to arrive, you might as well not wait any longer to give such activities your all — to put bold plans into practice, to stop erring on the side of caution.
It is even more liberating to reflect that everyone else is in the same boat, whether they’re aware of it or not.”
“To pursue mental operations to any depth, a person has to learn to concentrate attention. Without focus, consciousness is in a state of chaos.”
“Unfortunately, while free time might be a necessary condition for happiness, by itself it is not sufficient to guarantee it. Learning how to use it beneficially turns out to be more difficult than expected.
Nor does it seem that more of a good thing is necessarily better; as is true of so many other things, what enriches life in small quantities might impoverish it in larger doses.”
“We can't blame family, society, or history if our work is meaningless, dull, or stressful. Admittedly, there are not too many options when we realize that our job is useless, or actually harmful. Perhaps the only choice is to quit as quickly as possible, even at the cost of severe financial hardship.
In terms of the bottom line of one's life, it is always a better deal to do something one feels good about than something that may make us materially comfortable but emotionally miserable. Such decisions are notoriously difficult, and require great honesty with oneself.”
“You could say that I worked every minute of my life, or you could say with equal justice that I never worked a day.”
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