If you want to be happy (and who doesn’t?), it certainly helps to know what happiness is. Happiness is scientifically defined within the context of Flow Theory. The definitive book on Flow Theory is Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, by Mihaly Csikszentmilhalyi. “Optimal experience” could also be characterized as maximum happiness. Ultimate Happiness is maximum happiness (or optimal experience) over time.
Flow Theory describes a mental state during performance of an action in which a person performing the action is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement and enjoyment in the activity.
There are three primary conditions of the flow experience:
1) clear goals – this provides the necessary structure and direction to the activity;
2) clear and immediate feedback – this helps the person negotiate any challenging demands and allows them to make adjustments to their performance to maintain a flow state
3) a balance between challenge and skill – this balance provides a feeling of confidence and control over one’s ability to succeed.
The Golden Rule
The challenge/skill balance or CS balance is the golden rule of flow. The chart below illustrates the CS balance. It is a chart of the challenge level of a certain action versus the skill level available to meet the challenge.
Notice that an activity that has high challenge and low skill leads to a state of anxiety or being stressed out because the action cannot be performed. Anxiety has a negative effect on performance because it can cause frustration with an activity that will eventually cause a person to give up and quit the activity.
An activity with low challenge and high skill leads to a state of boredom because the activity is too easily performed. Boredom has a negative effect on performance because it can cause a person to lose interest and eventually quit the activity.
In both states – anxiety and boredom – the key performance problem is lost attention and focus on the activity.
By contrast, the CS balance or “flow channel” has a positive effect on performance because a person is succeeding at an activity and increasing skill over time, so that higher levels of performance can be achieved over time. In a Flow state, attention and focus on the activity are maximized.
Maximize Your Happiness Over Time
Being an Ultimate Person facilitates the Flow experience, over time. Flow is built into the skill of maximum problem solving skill over time, and thereby facilitates maximum happiness over time. Maximum happiness over time, or Ultimate Happiness, is one of the primary benefits to living The Ultimate Life.
Learn how to live the Ultimate Life, according to science, at UltimatePerson.com. The best place to start is to take the free online course entitled Ultimate Person Course. Or you can just download the free e-textbook entitled The Ultimate Person and read all about it.
Have an uplifting day!
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