Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Book Report: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Book Report: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Is True Happiness Possible?

General Overview
Many people search their entire life for happiness without understanding what it means therefore have difficulty being able to keep it. Csikszentmihalyi spent 20 years researching the state of mind of artists, mountain climbers, workers and athletes about their feelings when engaging in their activities which created the book Flow. This was written to help people people with the process of obtaining happiness through control over one's inner self.

According to Csikszentmihalyi, considering how consciousness works, and how it is controlled will help individuals understand the way subjective states are shaped and therefore can be mastered. The optimal experience of flow is based upon individuals ability to control his or her consciousness to the point of the highest degree and well being. People will go through good and bad times. However, after being able to experience flow,  one will no longer stay stuck in the problem that is beyond their control. On the Antithesis end, joyful experience will escalate drastically and pleasure will increase to new level.

Favorite Part- Chapter 8 Enjoying Solitude And Other People

As chapter 8 explains, to keep our flow of energy continual and beneficial to self- we have to be aware and conscious where we place our time and energy. By engaging with others I find a sense of purpose and embrace moments of solitude. By doing this I am aware of what's acceptable and unacceptable in my relationships. Self-reflecting increases my mindfulness which enables me walk away from relationships that are under-serving of me. This is my favorite part because for several years I ran on automatic pilot and didn't take the time to sit with self which caused emotionally, mentally and physical pain. After several years of being exhausted I began to search new ideas of ways to quiet the mind and that's when I begin to practice mindfulness which took several months before I was able to quiet the mind. Since, taking on this practice I have felt happiness at times. 

This relates to the lecture slide Ted Talks youtube video about Flow, what contributes to a life worth living? The video mentioned how people believe materialistic items will increase happiness. "People keep hoping that changing the external conditions of their lives will provide a solution. If only they could earn more money, be in better physical shape, or have a more understanding partner, they would really have it made. Even though we recognize that material success may not bring happiness, we engage in an endless struggle to reach external goals, expecting that they will improve life."

Since reading this book, I have been thinking about how much time I spend engaging in external goals such as work, school, interpersonal relationships, social activities thinking that's happiness. When in reality I am chasing the next dollar, highest grade and validation. I've experienced happiness at times however tend to get caught up in the daily grind of life without being present.

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