Mr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book “Flow” has, through his research, proven that what we think that makes us happy (or will make us happy) and what actually does make us happy are not the same things. We think that the new car, new house, new expensive toy, long vacation on Bali will give us happiness. Not true – when we reach those goals, we feel a bit elated and then we come back to our usually grumpy selves. There is, apparently, no connection between being rich and being happy – some of the happiest people have no money at all.
So what is it? Well, according to author with name impossible to pronounce, we need to be in a state of Flow to be truly happy. It is a state where we feel challenged applying our skills (challenged, but not impossibly so, this would create anxiety) when trying to reach a goal, fully concentrate on it, have immediate feedback related to our actions and constantly grow. On top of this if we will manage to have a “life theme” into which all our actions would fit, this will make us happy. All true.
If we feel challenged by a task and then we will master it, we may feel good for a while but it quickly turns into boredom. If we cannot master a task, we feel anger and anxiety. We need to be somewhere in between but constantly growing – if we mastered one task perfectly, we should try to learn new one, a bit more difficult – improving our skills which will make us ready for the next step.
Well, now I know what to do. How to do it is another matter – to quote U2, I think that I still haven’t found what I am looking for. I still don’t have a theme to my life… but one day maybe I will.