Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi - The Greatest Unanswered Question in Psychology Today

11.07.2019 - By The Science of Success

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In this episode we have one of the absolute living legends of psychology on the show - we discuss the GREATEST unanswered question in psychology, the biggest thing people mis-understand about flow, what advice young people can take away from our guest's incredible career, and what he thinks the absolute biggest takeaways from his own research are - and much more with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Your fate, your destiny, your future is not set out for you - you can shape it to be what you want it to be. You have the freedom to make life better for yourself and more worthwhile and meaningful for yourselves. Even the greatest traumas and struggles can be overcome. You don’t have to achieve fame and fortune to live a meaningful and wonderful life and to be truly alive.  Mihaly is Claremont Graduate University’s Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management. He is a bestselling author and founder and co-director of the Quality of Life Research Center. He is a member of the American Academy of Education, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Leisure Studies and his work has been featured on NPR,TED, WIRED, and more!!

The key ideas supported by the data around how people respond to Trauma.

People who are focused beyond themselves and their own wellbeing are more resilient to the things that happen to them. 

When you focus on the wellbeing of others, society, your family, etc - you’re much more resilient to Trauma

How do you think of yourself? Do you think of yourself as the body in which you live? Do you see yourself as being part of a family, group, religion etc? This will shape your response to trauma. 

The self is a very poor site for meaning - don’t put all your eggs in the fragile basket of the self 

We are all connected - recognizing that helps contextualize our existence

Flow and happiness are not the same thing - but they are very related

Flow is a momentary state of experience and happiness is a general perspective towards life 

If your life is full of flow - it will be a happy life! 

How do we consistently create flow states in our lives?

If you have those 2 traits you are more likely to be in flow more often 

Pay attention to the world around you and connect with it one way or another 

Life is quite malleable - we often feel like we’ve been dealt a tough hand, but its often how we react to it that is the most important 

How does Mihaly think about creating flow states in his own life?

What is the greatest unanswered question in psychology today?

What is the biggest mistake or pitfall that younger people (in their mid 20s) can make?

You have to keep an open mind, be open to learning

Don’t be too instinctive, don’t become an ideologue too soon

What’s the biggest thing that people misunderstand about Flow and Mihay’s research? 

We have the opportunity to shape ourselves into whoever we want to be- but we have to take into account where we came from and what our experiences have been. 

What’s the biggest takeaway from all the research on Flow?

Your fate, your destiny, your future is not set out for you - you can shape it to be what you want it to be.

You have the freedom to make life better for yourself and more worthwhile and meaningful for yourselves. Even the greatest traumas and struggles can be overcome.

You don’t have to achieve fame and fortune to live a meaningful and wonderful life and to be truly alive. 

It may not be an easy road to get there, but it’s possible for anyone to get there. This is open to everyone, but it’s hard to do the work and get there.

Life can be much more fun than you think! We have to look past the limited perspective of our own egos and experiences to understand the beauty of life.

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