The Psychological Concept of Flow

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Flow Introduction Flow is a psychological state coined by positive psychologist, Mihaly Csíkszentmihályii. Flow is a state of elevated consciousness and performance, created by single-minded immersion in a particular activity. (Csíkszentmihályi,1997, p. 30). It is also described as peak performance and focus, with the performer forgetting about the self and becoming one with the activity. (Csíkszentmihályi,1997, p. 31). It is the realm of enlightened activit,y, where the work itself is the reward. Thesis: Csíkszentmihályi, through his "Flow" theory has discovered a key component of optimal living and joy. However, he may be approaching these components too narrowly by suggesting that one must perform certain activities to achieve it. Background Autotelic Personality Flow occurs most often among people with what Csíkszentmihályi terms the "Autotelic Personality." Autotelic people often possess a high degree of curiosity, persistence, low self-centeredness, and a high rate of performing activities for intrinsic reasons only. (Csíkszentmihályi, 1990, p. 83-84). These traits allow a person to be internally motivated, deriving a sense of joy and fulfillment from their activities in themselves, as opposed to external rewards such as money, power and fame. (Csíkszentmihályi, 1997, p. 117). Autotelic persons tend to possess a capacity for enjoyment that persists across a number of activities. Csíkszentmihályi states that "…such persons experience flow in work, in family
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