The flow. Yeah. Knowing you could step on the court and make it happen. You practiced, sure. But then, when you walked out there, you could just go. You could flow, that was it: you created and you didn't totally know how. You just knew you could, so you did. It wasn't thinking and it wasn't imitating somebody else's moves, though you always looked carefully when you watched good players play. But when you played.. It was something you couldn't explain. Neal used to know. It didn't come from thinking about it.
Basic Principles: 1. Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative energy.2. There is an underlying, in-dwelling creative force infusing all of life -- including ourselves.3. When we open ourselves to our creativity, we open ourselves to the creator's creativity within us and our lives.4. We are, ourselves, creations. And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves.5. Creativity is God's gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God.6. The refusal to be creative is self-will and is counter to our true nature.7. When we open ourselves to exploring our creativity, we open ourselves to God: good orderly direction.8. As we open our creative channel to the creator, many gentle but powerful changes are to be expected.9. It is safe to open ourselves up to greater and greater creativity.10. Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source. As we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity.
On the job people feel skillful and challenged, and therefore feel more happy, strong, creative, and satisfied. In their free time people feel that there is generally not much to do and their skills are not being used, and therefore they tend to feel more sad, weak, dull, and dissatisfied. Yet they would like to work less and spend more time in leisure. What does this contradictory pattern mean? There are several possible explanations, but one conclusion seems inevitable: when it comes to work, people do not heed the evidence of their senses. They disregard the quality of immediate experience, and base their motivation instead on the strongly rooted cultural stereotype of what work is supposed to be like. They think of it as an imposition, a constraint, an infringement of their freedom, and therefore something to be avoided as much as possible.
During this kind of highly structured, self-motivated hard work, Csikszentmihalyi wrote, we regularly achieve the greatest form of happiness available to human beings: intense, optimistic engagement with the world around us. We feel fully alive, full of potential and purpose--in other words, we are completely activated as human beings.
One source of frustration in the workplace is the frequent mismatch between what people must do and whatpeople can do. When what they must do exceeds their capabilities, the result is anxiety. When what they must do falls short of their capabilities, the result is boredom. But when thematch is just right, the results can be glorious. This is the essence of flow.