TED Talks at YouTube Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Creativity, Fulfillment and Flow

at TED 2004


Flow in Composing Music…

You are in ecstatic state to such a point that you feel as though you almost don’t exisit. I have exprienced this time and again. My hand seems devoid of myself, and I have nothing to do with what is happening. I just sit there watching it in a state of awe and wonderment. And [the music] just flows out of itself.

Flow in Poetry…

It’s like opening a door that’s floating in the middle of the nowhere and all you have to do is go and turn the handle and open it and let yourself sink into it. You can’t particularly force yourself through it. You just have to float. If there’s any gravitational pull, it’s from the outside world trying to keep you back from the door.

Flow in Figure Skating…

It was just one of thise programs that clicked. I mean everything went right, everything felt good… it’s just such a rush, like you feel it could go on and on and on, like you don’t want it to stop because it’s going so well. It’s almost as though you don’t have to think, it’s like everything goes automatically without thinking, … it’s like you’re on automatic pilot, so you don’t have any thoughts. You hear the music but you’re not aware that you’re hearing it, because it’s a part of it all.

Norman Augustine, former CEO of Lockheed Martin

I’ve always wanted to be successful. My definition of being successful is contributing something to the world…and being happy while doing it…You have to enjoy what you are doing. You won’t be very good if you don’t. And secondly, you have to feel that you are contributing something worthwhile… If either of these ingredients are absent, there’s probably some lack of meaning in your work.

Anita Roddick

Look for your passion.What makes you excited? What turs you on?…Go towards companies that you really like, really admire… What do you admire about them? Spend if you can an internship there, or just knock on the door and say: “Hey, can I work here for cheap?”… Find organizations that move your spirit if you can. Work along side them… And have fun. There’s so uch fun to be had… When you spend 95% of your life ina wrk environment, it can’t be dout.

Masaru Ibuka, The first “Purposes of Incorporation” of Sony

To establish a place of work where engineers can feel the joy of technological innovation, be aware of their mission to society, and work to their heart’s content.

How does it feel to be in flow?

  1. Completely involved in what we are doing – focussed, concentrated.

  2. A sense of ecstasy–of being outside of everyday reality.

  3. Great inner clarity–knowing what needs to be done, and how well we are doing.

  4. Knowing that the activity is doable–that our skills are adequate to the task.

  5. A sense of serenity–no worries about yourself, and a feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of the ego.

  6. Timelessness–thoroughly focussed on the present, hours seems to pass by in minutes.

  7. Intrinsic motivation–whatever produces flow becomes its own reward.