Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi contributed pioneering work to our understanding of happiness, creativity, human fulfillment and the notion of "flow" — a state of heightened focus and immersion in activities such as art, play and work.

Why you should listen

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi believed creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives. A leading researcher in positive psychology, he devoted his life to studying what makes people truly happy: "When we are involved in [creativity], we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life." He was the architect of the notion of "flow" -- the creative moment when a person is completely involved in an activity for its own sake.

Csikszentmihalyi taught psychology and management at Claremont Graduate University, focusing on human strengths such as optimism, motivation and responsibility. He was the director of the Quality of Life Research Center there. He wrote numerous books and papers about the search for joy and fulfillment.

What others say

“A man obsessed by happiness.” — Richard Flaste, New York Times

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s TED talk

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Creativity, fulfillment and flow: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on TED.com

October 23, 2008

Social theorist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi asks, “What makes a life worth living?” Noting that money cannot make us happy, he looks to those who find pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring about a state of “flow.” (Recorded February 2004 in Monterey, California. Duration: 18:55.)   Watch Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s 2004 talk on TED.com, where you […]

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