We lost Prof Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi this week. If you’ve ever heard of the word “flow” or sought it yourself, you’ve been touched by Prof Mihaly’s pioneering work on psychology and productivity.
I interviewed Prof Mihaly 7 years ago for a side project. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to speak to a luminary. So, after some prep, I was ready and excited.
5 minutes into the conversation, my computer crashed. Okay, take 2.
5 minutes into take 2, my computer crashed again. Then, inexplicably, my screen froze again a few minutes into attempt 3.
At this point, I’d wasted 20 minutes of his time and I expected him to say goodbye and tell me to go sort out my technology issues (it would have been justified!). As I called him for the 4th time, I shared how embarrassed I was feeling.
“Technology exists to embarrass” – he said with a kind smile and got on with take 4 as if nothing happened.
Prof Mihaly said many an insightful thing during that interview. But, those moments of kindness, humor, and patience have stayed with me all these years.
He didn’t just teach us about happiness and fulfillment. He lived it.
He will be missed.