In a world organized around the assumption that serious work should be grim and unpleasant, we strive to make our lives more meaningful. Whether a line worker or a paper pusher, we find ourselves on a never-ending search for ways to counteract the boredom, anxiety, and alienation that our work-orientated society has become. But in this culture ruled by the pursuit of money, prestige, and pleasure, there are some individuals willing to give up material rewards for the elusive experience of mere enjoyment. These are the rock climbers, the dancers, the chess masters, and others who have sacrificed all for the power of play – these are individuals who have entered the ‘state of flow’.
“…They concentrate their attention on a limited stimulus field, forget personal problems, lose their sense of time and of themselves, feel competent and in control, and have a sense of harmony and union with their surroundings…They cease to worry about whether the activity will be productive or whether it will be rewarded… They have entered a state of flow”
From Beyond Boredom and Anxiety by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (first published 1975)
View his TED talk at http://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow.html