Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow and Blended Culture People


51hYScOQ17L._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_I just read a blog post that I found really interesting. It explains a bit about me from a perspective I hadn’t really thought about before. And, I feel it speaks to many Blended Culture people of the world. What is “Blended Culture”?

“The term ‘Blended Culture’ is used to describe individuals who, by birth, upbringing, and/or adult experience hold multiple frames of cultural reference within themselves. These individuals may include those who have extensive international life experience or those whose exposure to different cultures took place within a single national context.”
Cultural Detective Blended Culture

The blog post I so enjoyed was written by Matthew Schuler and is entitled, Why Creative People Sometimes Make No SenseIn it Matthew summarizes Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book, Creativity: The Work and Lives of 91 Eminent People.

I remember reading Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, but I don’t remember him talking about the nine points Matthew summarizes. Perhaps it’s just that I read the book too long ago.

You perhaps admire Csikszentmihalyi, as I do. He is a seminal professor of Psychology and Management, and the Founding Co-Director of the Quality of Life Research Center at the Claremont Graduate University. His work focuses on happiness and creativity, and he is the architect of the concept of flow.

In his blog post Matthew quotes Csikszentmihalyi:

“I have devoted 30 years of research to how creative people live and work, to make more understandable the mysterious process by which they come up with new ideas and new things. If I had to express in one word what makes their personalities different from others, it’s complexity. They show tendencies of thought and action that in most people are segregated. They contain contradictory extremes; instead of being an individual, each of them is a multitude.”

Matthew shares with us nine contradictory traits frequently present in creative people. I am of the opinion that they are traits frequently present in Blended Culture people as well. To amplify that definition:

“Blended Culture: people who have had the experience of a culturally varied life, and who have integrated their multicultural experiences into a Blended Culture value set, and who are relatively high-functioning (constructive) despite the complex influence their Blended Culture values exert on their decisions and behaviors.”
Cultural Detective Blended Culture

Mihaly’s nine contradictions of creative people as Matthew summarizes them are:
  1. Energetic yet quiet/concentrating
  2. Smart and naïve
  3. Playful and productive, responsible and irresponsible
  4. Fluently alternate between fantasy and reality
  5. Humble yet proud
  6. Passionate yet objective about their work
  7. Have experienced suffering and pain, and found joy and life within it

Please let me know what you think in reading Matthew’s post, about the correlation between Blended Culture and Creative People behaviors. Perhaps the mere reality of having to, on a daily basis, reconcile oft-competing realities provides BC people ongoing practice with the creative experience? What do you think? At a minimum, it motivates me to want to read this other book! Those who have read it: please, tell us what you think.

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