What makes people happy? A gold watch? Big car? A million dollars in the bank? Maybe a million followers on Instagram? The Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi made a different discovery.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi understood adversity from an early age. The Hungarian psychologist grew up during the Second World War. He saw how many adults around him were broken by the tragedy of war. Even after the war, the question of what makes people happy wouldn’t let him go. At the age of 22, he emigrated to the U.S., studied psychology and worked at various universities. Then he observed that artists, when fully absorbed in their creative work, seemed quite happy. This piqued his interest.
He began to do some research. For many years, he asked people to write down what they were doing and how they felt. He watched artists, entrepreneurs, monks and ordinary people. The result was always the same: the greatest moments of happiness and pleasure occurred when they pursued a creative activity.
Get in the “flow”
Working on something special brings people into a particular state of happiness and joy, which Csikszentmihalyi calls “flow”:
You’re completely focused on one thing and can block out the outside world. There is a feeling of clarity. You know what to do now, and what the next step looks like. An inner certainty tells you that the task is to create your own ideas and actions to move forward. There are no doubts about the outcome or what others might think. The time flies by—forgotten—it’s not important. The inner motivation is enough of a drive to just do it.
Being in flow—do you know that feeling? Do yoga. Brew your own beer. Take funny dog photos. It doesn’t matter what it is; Whether you want to implement an idea, build a business, or just create a Jimdo website: if it “flows” it’s fun. And when something is fun, the result is also usually better. Great. So what stops us from doing more of it?
Do more of what makes you happy—This is a common saying shared on the Internet. It’s available to buy as a sticker. Do more of what makes you happy. Easier said than done. Even if we know what makes us happy, the beginning is often infinitely difficult.
Why do writers who love writing have writer’s block? Why do talented craftsmen hesitate to sell their creations? And why is it sometimes hard to get started updating your website?
Often enough our own doubts stand in our way. The fear of not having the necessary abilities, not being a professional. The question of whether it’s worth the work involved. What if the attempt fails?
Once the doubts take over, the creative confidence goes out the window. The longer you reflect on it, the harder it is to get started.
The first step? Get started
We’ve seen this at Jimdo in countless projects. With each new task, one first appears as a painter in front of a white canvas and hesitates before the first brush stroke. But it is only when the brush touches the canvas that the work continues.
Even when we talk to Jimdo users, we often hear similar stories. The step into self-employment. The step to your own website. First, there is the one doubt or another. But the second you start, you realize that it is not so difficult. It’s even fun.
It’s this flow feeling that we want to show with the stories of other Jimdo users—because they too had doubts at first. Then they just started and experienced that it is usually easier than expected. With their projects, they have created something of their own. With their own hands and ideas. A great feeling.
So when someone asks us, what is the key to happiness? Our answer is quite certain: do your own thing. And if that thing is a Jimdo website, even better! ;-)
What is your next project idea? When are you in the flow? And what doubts sometimes stop you? Tell us about your experiences in the comments.