Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's talk at ted starts very slowy and it takes about 8 minutes, till he finally cuts to the chase.


He describes the emotional state that many people experience when they are completely immersed in a challenging task they like.


The flow is something that I sometimes reach when writing software, plan or design something I care about. A ringing telephone then feels like an alarm clock waking me from a dream state. It seems to come from a completely different world.

From the talk:
How does it feel to be in flow?
  1. Completely involced in what we are doing - focused, concentrated
    A sense of ecstatsy - of being outside everday reality.

  2. Great inner clarity - knowing what needs to be done, and how well we are doing.

  3. Know that the activitiy is doable - that our skills are adequate to the task

  4. A sense of serenity - no worries about oneself, and a feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of the ego.

  5. Timelessness - thoroughly focues on the present, hours seem to pass by in minutes

  6. Intrinsic motivation - whatever produces flow bevomes its own reward.

It's funny, that he mentions people reaching that state when watching television. I remember, that it happened to me, when I was a kid.


His explanation is interesting. The mind has a limited capacity. You can only do so much at one time. When you are totally immersed in some creative or challenging task, there simply is not enough processing power for self awareness.

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