Feeling Alive And "In The Flow" with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

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"How do adults recapture that feeling of joy that children get from play?" asks a psychologist who has spent decades studying the state of being that he calls "flow." We experience flow when we are totally absorbed in a challenging activity for its own sake, and not for the sake of the results. The flow state is accessible to everyone, can occur at any level of skill, and is in fact necessary for real enjoyment of life beyond simple pleasure-seeking. "You don't get much out of the passive consumption of pleasure," Csikszentmihalyi says, "compared to enjoyment which is much more active and creative and self-directive." He goes further, to explore ethical considerations and the meaning of wisdom. This program may change the way you live your daily life! (hosted by Michael Toms)


Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a Croation-born professor of American psychology at the Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, CA and is the former head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago.

He is the author of:

  • Flow (Harper Collins 1990)
  • Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention (Harper Collins 1996)
  • Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet (Basic Books 2001)

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • What the "flow" experience is, and how to achieve it
  • What is the difference between "peak experiences" and the state of "flow"
  • What is the "trap of affluence" in societies that believe in passive pleasures
  • What flow tells us about helping high school and college students
  • What are the three aspects of full, living wisdom
Host: Michael Toms       Interview Date: 10/11/1993       Program Number: 2425