Flow – the classic work on how to achieve happiness

  • Happiness is not something that happens. It is not the result of good fortune or random chance. It does not depend on outside events, but, rather on how we interpret them.
  • 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.
  • Ask yourself whether you are happy and you cease to be so – J.S. Mill
  • It is by being fully involved in every detail of our lives whether good or bad that we find happiness, not by trying to look for it directly.
  • Don’t aim at success – the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued. It must ensue …as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a course greater than oneself.
  • The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to it’s limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.
  • Flow – The state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.
  • What would really satisfy people is not getting slim or rich, but feeling good about their lives.
  • People who find their lives meaningful usually have a goal that is challenging enough to take up all their energies, a goal that can give significance to their lives. We may refer to this process as achieving purpose.
  • To experience flow, one must set goals for one’s actions: to win a game, to make friends with a person, to accomplish something in a certain way. The goal in itself is not important; what matters is that it focuses a person’s attention and involves it in an achievable, enjoyable activity.
  • When an important goal is pursued with resolution and all one’s varied activities fit together into a unified flow experience, the result is that harmony is brought into consciousness.

How to achieve inner harmony?

Someone who knows his desires and works with a single-minded purpose to achieve them is a person whose feelings, thoughts and actions are congruent with one another and is therefore a person who has achieved inner harmony. This process was also called “getting your head together” in the 1960’s.

Purpose, resolution and harmony unify life and give it meaning by transforming it into a seamless flow experience. Whoever achieves this state will really not lack anything else.

Goals

The price one pays for changing goals whenever opposition threatens is that while one may achieve a more pleasant and comfortable life, it is likely that it will end up empty and void of meaning.

There is a mutual relationship between goals and the effort they require. Goals justify the effort they demand at the outset, but later it is the effort that justifies the goal.

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