An introduction to a lecture

Listen to the introduction of a psychology lecture to practise and improve your listening skills.

Instructions

Do the preparation task first. Then listen to the audio and do the exercises.

Transcript

Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to the first lecture of our new course in Positive Psychology. While some people may associate psychology with looking at what's wrong with us, and at what problems we have, there is much more to psychology than that. Positive psychology, for example, looks at how to help people become happier.

This lecture begins with a question: what makes a happy life?

Now, I'm going to give you one possible answer. A happy life is a life in which you are completely absorbed in what you do. Now, how does this compare with what you and your partner said? 

This answer comes from the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and the theory of flow. Csikszentmihalyi is a psychologist who has spent much of his professional life on the study of what makes people happy and how we can find happiness.

Csikszentmihalyi suggests the theory that happiness is not caused by external events or things that happen to us. Our perception of these things and how we see these events either makes us happy or sad. In other words, if we want happiness, we have to actively look for it. However, this does not mean that we should always look for happiness! Csikszentmihalyi believed that our happiest moments happen when we are in a state of flow.

The theory of flow can be summarised like this: when we are totally involved in, or focused on, what we are doing, we are in a state of flow.

Csikszentmihalyi got the inspiration for this theory when he noticed how artists worked in a studio. They completely lost track of time, they didn't notice they were hungry or tired, and they could work for hours, even days, without stopping. Anyone I have spoken to who has experienced this state of concentration has said it's difficult to explain. The best way to explain it is that it is like being in a river and the flow of the water carries you away.

For the rest of this lecture, I will explore this theory of flow in more detail. First we will look at Csikszentmihalyi's life, and how it influenced his ideas. Then we will look at the conditions that go with a state of flow. What creates flow, exactly? Finally, we will look at activities that can help us achieve flow in our everyday lives. Will this course make you happy for life? Well, maybe. Maybe. 

Right, let's get started. If you look at the next slide …

Discussion

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Average: 3.4 (5 votes)

Submitted by Razy on Mon, 30/11/2020 - 11:43

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I remember, I really felt this state when I was a school child. Well, while solving a math question, I was so absorbed in so that I couldn't notice that my room has been dark. In other words, I was losing track of anything that was happening around me, except for math.
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Submitted by DJ Singh on Wed, 25/11/2020 - 12:12

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Oh yeah, so many times, in my last job as a visual effects artist I had to creative works as my task, and while doing that I often forget to have my meal or even go to the washrooms. I spent 3-4 hours continuously working without any interruptions.

Submitted by Hibdah on Tue, 03/11/2020 - 23:24

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Yeeeees, I experienced state of flow many times and I can say I knew the real happiness. It happened when I get absorbed in studying mathematical equations. I really love this article, it's just like I am talking about my experience. Many times I lost track to eat, I was concerned nothing except my goal. In the first I felt like it's just a duty to do later on I became in love with what I do. I did it because I wanted not because someone else wanted me to do.
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Submitted by javibuendi on Tue, 03/11/2020 - 10:21

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Yes, I´m in a state of flow in many situations. For example, when I´m playing some sport, like football or padel. In those moments I feel absorbed and I even lose track of time. Another example is when I´m spending time with my girlfriend, she always brings out the best in me. Cheers from Madrid.

Submitted by togrul01 on Fri, 30/10/2020 - 19:50

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Actually, if I'm boxing I'm in a state of flow. By the way, when I'm listening to music I'm in there too.

Submitted by nialataria on Sat, 24/10/2020 - 11:10

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Maybe when I paint I'm in a "state of flow"))) Then you can lose a track of time and be totally absorbed in process

Submitted by Ugulhan on Mon, 19/10/2020 - 10:16

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Most students who learn the English language, they are absorbed in what they are doing. Even me too I lost track of having my breakfast or sleeping.

Submitted by habibao.medo on Sun, 11/10/2020 - 17:03

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i don't think i have been in a state of flow before but maybe when i am reading my favorite novel , i fell very happy that i can dance in the room for hours i think that is flow
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Submitted by Smiley1 on Sat, 10/10/2020 - 14:14

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Ah, yeah.,. quite often... when I’m having a great dish. ;-)

Submitted by mcambindo22 on Fri, 09/10/2020 - 22:28

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Yes, I have been in state of a flow constantly of happiness while I am with my family or when I am studying even though there are some situations when I don't understand something and feeling a bit sad, but I remember my goals and continue striving.