Mihaly – the Chicago psychologist who popularised the concept of “flow” – has come up with a concept that I really like… it’s “Creativity”. Not “creativity”, the generation of novel ideas or connections, but “Creativity”, innovations in some domain of science, economics, or ideas that are both daring enough to generate excitement and sound enough to command respect from acknowledged experts in the field.
Flow, in case you’re not familiar with the concept, refers to the experiences of intense pleasure during periods of focused attention… the ‘zone’ that you get when you’re doing something that you love and that you’re good at, whether making love, playing tennis or taking an exam.
Mihaly suggests that one of the ways to cultivate Creativity is for experts to communicate to novices the joys of successfully practising a difficult skill set. Unless you can go beyond the drudgery of practice and reject the easy victories of imitation and passive entertainment, few will master the skills in the first place and fewer still will go beyond the established norms of excellence necessary to achieve eminence.