Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has spent the better part of his life studying happiness and is widely regarded as the world’s leading researcher on positive psychology.
In his classic work on happiness – ‘Flow‘, Mihaly shares his insights about what makes us happy and our inherent ability to design a life that allows us to experience genuine happiness.
What I find most interesting about this book and his research is that his findings resonate so deeply with the numerous spiritual texts that I have read. It seems that they’re all aligned and pointing in the same direction. The science is backing up the sages, it seems. And that is fascinating.
What it also means to me personally is that, more than anything else, happiness has got more to do with our mindset than the external conditions of our life.
Here’s what Mihaly writes in the first chapter titled – Happiness Revisited
“What I ‘discovered’ was that happiness is not something that happens. It is not the result of good fortune or random chance. It is not something that money can buy or power command. It does not depend on outside events, but rather on how we interpret them.
Happiness, in fact, is a condition that must be prepared for, cultivated, and defended privately by each person.
People who learn to control inner experience will be able to determine the quality of their lives, which is as close as any of us can come to being happy”
“We cannot reach happiness by consciously searching for it. It is by being fully involved with every detail of our lives, whether good or bad, that we find happiness, not by trying to look for it directly.”
(Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow, Rider, 2002)
Also, do watch this interesting TED talk by Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in which he describes in detail the state of optimal experiences or flow and how to achieve them-