Some say that the way to conduct one’s personal life is to "go with the flow". Relax, let yourself be carried by the currents of chance, focus on the ride (not the destination), and don't try to force anything-just "let it be." Yet, in the realms of career, business, and management, many of the same and most other people are likely to believe that nothing is accomplished without self-denial, cost-cutting clock-watching; putting up with dull routine, loss of autonomy, regimented and often unsatisfying effort, and believing that one's nose has to be up against a frequently oppressive grindstone-a kind of "go with the corporate flowchart" success model.
In Flow: the Psychology of Optimal Experience (Harper and Row, 1990), a landmark exposition of what has come to be called "flow theory," Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, professor and former chairman of the Department of Psychology, University of Chicago, suggested quite the opposite. All over the world, his supporters suggest and data indicate that those people who are most likely to describe themselves as having a sense of mastery of life, participation and involvement, meaningful lives, and of jobs well and satisfyingly done are people who don't just go with the flow. They grow and glow with it.