THE AUTOTELIC EXPERIENCE

Source: Wikipedia

“This is the real secret of life– to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” — Alan Wilson Watts

The autotelic personality is an individual who generally does things for their own sake,in the “here and now”,rather than for some later goal.

No one is fully autotelic, since we all have to do things even if we don’t enjoy them, either out of a sense of duty or necessity. But there is a gradation, ranging from individuals who almost never feel that what they do is worth doing for its own sake, to others who feel that most anything they do is fun and valuable in its own right. It is to these latter individuals the term autotelic personality applies.

The autotelic personality has several very specific personality traits which are better able to achieve the “flow experience” than the average person. These personality traits include curiosity, persistence, low self-centeredness, and a desire of performing activities for intrinsic reasons only.

They tend to have a greater preference for challenging-opportunities and learning skills that stimulate them and encourage growth. It is in such high-challenge and through creative learning skills that people are most likely to enter the “flow state”.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes people who are “autotelic as those who need few material possessions and little entertainment, comfort, power, or fame because so much of what he or she does is already rewarding. Because such persons experience flow in work, in family life, when interacting with people, when eating, even when alone with nothing to do, they are less dependent on the external rewards that keep others motivated to go on with a life composed of routines. They are more autonomous and independent because they cannot be as easily manipulated with threats or rewards from the outside. At the same time, they are more involved with everything around them because they are fully immersed in the current of life.”

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” ~ Confusius

One Response

  1. Sid,

    You’re the best!

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