As a woman of science, I am forever fascinated by the different developments and understandings we have come to recognize as truths about human nature and behavior. I recently read the book “Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention” by iconic psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi which gave incredible insight into the moments that people feel make life worth living and what leads them to get there.
Csikszentmihalyi is the leading researcher into flow states and flow theory, which he introduced in the 1970s based on research examining people who did activities for pleasure even with no recognition. He discovered that enjoyment did not result from relaxing or living stress-free but during intense activities where a person’s attention is fully absorbed – called a flow state.
Similar to how this book draws on almost 100 interviews with biologists, physicists, politicians, poets, artists, and more, his research into flow theory analyzed writers, athletes, chess masters, surgeons, and any individuals who were involved in activities they preferred.
Through the lens of his 30 years of studies, Csikszentmihalyi discusses ideas like why creative individuals are often seen as selfish and arrogant, why the “tortured genius” is largely a myth, and why creativity is necessary for the future of our communities and world.
I highly recommend this book to those intrigued by human processes and who find themselves engaged in creative pastimes that lead to innovative developments.