Create every day


Psychologist Mihai Csikszentmihalyi describes his own life as “an effort to understand what really makes people happy.” He argues reasonably with the popular belief that the path to happiness lies through the satisfaction of desires and carefree consumption.

For 30 years, he interviewed thousands of people from different countries, trying to understand what makes them happy, and made sure that we feel best when we use our strength and talents to the maximum to achieve a meaningful goal. Then happiness becomes an integral part of life – active meaningful happiness that turns everyday life into real pleasure. Csikszentmihalyi calls this the “flow state”. This definition is not accidental: it was with the flow that the participants in his studies most often compared their feelings.

It turned out that we feel happy not when we eat a cake or relax on the beach, but when we make the most of our capabilities and talents. It is this creative state that Csikszentmihalyi calls “flow”: in it we feel good as never before and do the best we can. In these moments, we merge with what we do, forgetting about time and worries.

Together with his students, Csikszentmihalyi filmed and then analyzed the testimonies of people who learned to draw energy and joy in this state. Based on 91 interviews, he identified what he can do to help everyone live their lives creatively. It is not necessary to create masterpieces for this, the main thing is to fully invest in every gesture, every step.

Here are some ways to develop your individual creativity.

Open up to small joys

Since we are often overwhelmed with solving everyday problems, and the need to just survive becomes an obsession, we do not have the mental energy left to create, learn, create new things. How to be?

If we manage to be surprised every day, then we will definitely feel new strength.

First of all, you need to maintain a curiosity about life and be interested in the world around you without any special purpose. It is about the simplest thing: listening and hearing what a colleague or partner is saying, feeling the wind blowing on your face, admiring the reflection of clouds on the glass facade of the house, watching a child playing with a puppy.

If we manage to be surprised every day, then we will definitely feel new strength.

Allow yourself to change

It’s funny how much money we spend on improving our appearance, although an internal overhaul would surely do much more good. However, fatalism is inherent in man in everything that concerns his character. But if we go through life without changing our habits, we block our creative energy.

Everyone has their own way of interacting with the world. But look at creative people: they often combine qualities that at first glance are mutually exclusive.

Exploring our hidden sides, the existence of which we do not suspect or in every possible way deny their presence, is a fruitful exercise. For example, a competitive person may practice cooperation and vice versa. Others, with developed intuition, should learn to be objective and rational.

If you find it difficult to determine the field of activity, ask loved ones what qualities are characteristic for you. So you can choose the type of behavior “by contradiction”. Of course, it will not be easy, but this experience allows you to grow and develop.

Create every day


When the creative energy has woken up, it must be protected, completely surrendering to it, so that it does not disappear, does not melt like smoke. J.K. Rowling admitted that chaos reigned in her apartment while the Harry Potter novels were being written. After all, every minute won back from boring and routine matters is a minute saved for creativity.

Many are accustomed to living in a constant rush, and at the thought that they can do nothing, they are overcome with anxiety. However, the constant hustle and bustle does not encourage creativity.

You need to allow yourself the luxury of reflection. Allow time to take stock, remember everything we have done in life, and think about what we still have to do. It is ideal to combine these pauses with physical activity: walking, swimming, tinkering, working in the garden … And then, whether we like it or not, new ideas will come to our heads by themselves. And the less we control them, the more interesting and creative they will be.

Express emotions

The creative process begins with the feeling that something is wrong. Mihai Csikszentmihalyi invites us to understand our difficulties and express what worries us in order to regain contact with feelings. Even if they upset or frighten us.

Solving problems creatively means constantly reviewing the situation, changing approaches

If we have lost our mother or father, is there a note of relief in our sadness, or perhaps a sense of liberation? The best way to understand your complex and ambiguous emotions is to start expressing them without the help of your intellect, through drawing, modeling, music. And only then try to call them with words.

Another way: to change the formulation of the question. One big businessman trained himself to a simple exercise. To each of his own statements, he answered himself: “What if the opposite is true?”

It would be nice to be able to change the course a little every day depending on new information. Solving problems creatively means constantly reviewing the situation, changing approaches. The only prerequisite is to have fun. According to Csikszentmihalyi, this is the only way we can make a feasible contribution to the development of mankind.

People in the stream

They have found an occupation in which they achieve the highest joy and feel truly alive.

Lyudmila, 36 years old, translator: “At the computer, I live life to the fullest. I’m on my own, nothing else matters. I get up and go to work – in my pajamas and not a soul is around. When I work on a book, these are moments of grace. Sometimes I even feel ashamed that my work gives me more joy than the rest of my life. “

Yuri, 51 years old, photographer: “When I choose a shot, I feel like I’m in a cocoon. I abstract from the world around me. I took pictures at exhibitions, at film festivals, when there was a crowd of people around. But I did not notice or see anything except the background for the picture. One day at the end of a session, a famous actor called me a “hypnotist.” And the truth is, when I work, my eyes freeze, my stomach strains, my breath stops. Remember Jean Reno’s character in the Blue Abyss movie when he enters the water with crazy eyes? We plunge into approximately such a special state when we want to find support in the depths of our own being. “

Larisa, 24 years old, athlete: “To run easily, no matter whether in training or competition, I have to free myself from everything, become ’empty’. Then my mind is calm. There are even such moments, very fleeting, when I just float above the ground. This does not mean that I have absolutely nothing in my head. I am focused on the body, the sensations. I cannot completely distract myself from the world around me. But I do not react with reasoning. Everything happens automatically, as if the survival instinct is at work. While running, I forget about everything, and only then can I analyze and evaluate. “

Nina, 31 years old, mother of five-year-old Arseny: “My son changed me. I used to worry all the time, I was depressed, I lived in a state of stress. After the birth of Arseny, I became wiser. On Saturday morning, we let Dad sleep and spend time together. It’s kind of a symbiosis. Our games and long conversations are energizing for the whole week. When I play with Arsyusha, I forget about time. Sometimes my husband says that he watched us for twenty minutes, but we did not notice. I myself am surprised how interesting I am with my son and what kind of tenderness I can feel for him. And I, with my natural anxiety and even a tendency to depression, feel a sea of ​​calm in myself. “

Mihai Csikszentmihalyi

About the expert

Mihai Csikszentmihalyi – psychologist, professor at Claremont University (USA), author of fifteen books, including the famous “Stream: the psychology of optimal experience.”

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