There are lots of books on the market that claim to know the steps to achieving happiness. From leaving your spouse to going somewhere to live alone on top of a mountain, they present steps that you should follow in order to find fulfilment. Csikszentmihalyi's book is not that kind of book as it dwells on the concept that being involved in life leads to happiness. Below is a review of The Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
Have you ever begun a task or started working on a project that you loved and always wanted to accomplish and forgot the time, or the years that it would take you to reach your goal? Have you ever let yourself be stretched far beyond what you thought you could handle, expanding yourself to achieve that impossible dream, even though you may have had body aches and pains or tremendous mental stress?
If so, then you were in what Csikszentmihalyi describes as the optimal experience, which interprets the concept of flow. Being totally involved in what you were doing, you were impervious to all the distractions, internal and external, that were surrounding you, to include the mental pressures that were trying to evade your mind. This type of involvement evolves into an optimal experience, whereby the individual is experiencing happiness because he is mastering the events of his life.
It is not the dependence on wealth, on the job title or on one's possessions that makes a person happy, according to Csikszentmihalyi. It is dependent solely upon movements that stretch the person to his own individual limits to voluntarily accomplish something difficult and worthwhile, which he or she expected to achieve.
Controlling your thoughts
Reaching the state of optimal experience, however, demands that people overcome the chaos and disorder in their minds by developing flow. Flow is attained by ordering and bringing your thoughts under control. It is Csikszentmihalyi's belief that good things in life do not only come through the senses. Some of the most exhilarating experiences are founded and generated in the mind. Thus, a basketball player who focuses only on his game achieves his shots in the basket because he is in flow. An artist who works on a painting for two days without sleeping and is not tired, is said to work in flow. The flow allows their minds to be in harmony and their creativity to be set free.