I was reminded today that apathy is one of the few human emotions (or lack of) that I can’t understand as a natural reaction to…anything. I like to react, solve, learn, move on, cope…do something. Via wikipedia (of course), I learned about apathy’s counterpart, the concept of flow. I was then a click away from learning a bit about the man who popularized this notion: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
Basically, flow is motivation, is happiness. Purpose trumps every temporary concern that keeps you at a standstill. Flow is the state we should all strive to be in most of the time. It’s the journey, not the destination, that counts. This is a beautiful idea and not a new concept for me to understand but I am looking forward to reading Csíkszentmihályi’s work, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, for the full experience.
Csíkszentmihályi described flow as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”
Conversely, the Wikipedia article for apathy states:
"In positive psychology, apathy is described as a result of the individual feeling they do not possess the level of skill required to confront a challenge (i.e. “Flow”). It may also be a result of perceiving no challenge at all (e.g. the challenge is irrelevant to them, or conversely, they have learned helplessness).”
I’m not interested in forcing anyone to do something they don’t want to do but I am interested in everyone’s ability to create happiness for themselves. It’s not a huge mountain to climb or even a hike up to the Hollywood sign. Just small steps can get you there. I guess you can apply this to reaching adulthood too.
As a side note, this guy’s last name is the most difficult name i’ve ever read in my entire life. I don’t even believe the pronunciation listed in his article.