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Professor Csikszentmihalyi coined the term “flow” to explain a theory on how we can achieve a mental state of peak performance and happiness. Now he uses that same theory and applies it to help us understand the creative process. Drawing upon nearly one hundred interviews with creative people in every field, this book explores the traits of creative people and helps us identify ways to encourage our own originality.



by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi


1.64K reads

Creativity: Now You Know!

  • Creative individuals tend to operate at the extremes.
  • The creative process is recursive, not linear. Mental meandering to allow the commingling of ideas is an essential process.
  • Creativity comes from the heart. There is no other motivation other than the joy of discovering...

Creativity does not happen inside people’s heads but in the interaction between a person’s thoughts and a sociocultural context. It is a systemic rather than an individual phenomenon.

Criteria For An Idea to Be Considered “Creative”:

  • Be couched in terms that are ...

Creative people have complex personalities. They have the ability to move from one extreme to the other as needed.

Creative individuals have a great deal of physical energy, but they are also often quiet and at rest.

Creative individuals tend to be smart, yet also naive at the same t...

  • Preparation: Immersing oneself in the problem and sparking curiosity
  • Incubation: Time to allow the ideas to church around in the subconscious where unusual connections can be made
  • Insight: The “Aha!” moment
  • Evaluation: Deciding whether the insight is valuable and wort...

One of the values in walking to work is mental meandering. Or if driving, not to have the car radio on…Mental meandering, mind wandering and so on, is an essential process. If you are allowing that mentation to be driven by the radio or the television or other people’s...

  • Creative people all love what they do. It is not the hope of achieving fame or making money that drives them; rather, it is the opportunity to do the work that they enjoy doing.
  • Most people enjoy “designing or discovering something new.”
  • We are also motivated by the force of ...

  • There are clear goals every step of the way.
  • There is immediate feedback to one’s actions.
  • There is a balance between challenges and skills.
  • Actions and awareness are merged.
  • Distractions are excluded from consciousness.
  • There is no worry of failure.

One must be in a position to access the domain in which one plans to work. Information is not distributed evenly in space but is clumped in different geographical nodes.

Novel stimulation is not evenly distributed. Some environments have a greater density of interaction and provide more exc...

  • The evidence suggests that unusual and beautiful surroundings may in face help us see situations more holistically and from novel viewpoints.
  • How one spends time in a beautiful natural setting seems to matter as well. Just sitting and watching is fine, but taking a leisurely walk see...

  • Creative people are curious
  • Parental support is instrumental in helping children succeed amidst a poor or socially marginal background.
  • Creative people seem to come from exceptionally supportive childhoods or very deprived and challenging ones. Very few come from middle-class...

You must always have an obsession. You must always have too little time instead of too much

  • When we live creativity, we banish boredom.
  • Stop wasting energy on selfish goals. Explore the world around you for its own sake. Be curious.
  • Try to be surprised by something every day.
  • Try to surprise at least one person every day.
  • Keep a journal and write the...

Intentionally develop your weaker character traits.

Practice shifting from operating with an open mind and receptive to new ideas, to closed focus and concentration.

Aim for a complex personality. Allow yourself to become more and experience more.

Find problems that move you emo...

  • We are exhausted by too many demands.
  • We are easily distracted.
  • We are lazy and lack discipline for controlling the flow of energy.
  • We do not know what to do with the energy we do have.

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