Book Review: Flow by Mihaly C.

Though written quite a while ago, this is one of the best books I have encountered. It is full of life hacks for greater happiness, and it so good that it is worth coming back to again and again to understand what it takes to be in a state of flow more often in your life. The author researched the state of FLOW, defined as the optimal state between boredom and anxiety.

According to Mihaly’s research of over 50 years, people report the following EIGHT characteristics consistently when they are in a state of FLOW:

1. Goals are clear.
2. Feedback on how they are doing is clear.
3. Their ability to do a task matches the demands of the task.
4. They are able to apply concentration and focus.
5. Everyday worries and cares disappear.
6. They feel in control of their destiny, or experience self-determination.
7. They are not worried about how they appear to others, no worry of judgement.
8. They feel they are contributing toward the common symphony of life and as such sense a timelessness, or transcendence of time.

Then, the author provides gentle, attainable suggestions for each area of life, reminding the reader about all of the possibilities that exist in our lives to achieve greater flow.

The author strongly suggests avoiding passive consumption of media and television because of the apathy and boredom it can engender. One way to do this, he cites, is to become an active critic. Actively reflecting on your media consumption by posting reviews, or becoming involved in the public dialogue over the content will help to change this experience from one of passivity to one of activity.

Here is an animated summary of FLOW:

If you want to hear from the author himself, there are many TED Talks available as well, but I highly recommend the book and then looking for ways to give yourself consistent feedback and greater happiness.

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