Interestingly, he notes that about $1000.00 above the poverty line, increases in income do not correlate to increases in happiness. Consequently, the solution is not so much economic but psychological. Csikszentmihaly has researched creativity by interviewing artists and cites one quote who said that when composing, he (the artist) enters into a state of ecstasy. Csikszentmihaly goes on to describe what is meant about by the term ecstasy linking it to the Greek etymology. A poet he interviewed described ecstasy as opening a door that floats to the sky.
Csikszentmihaly found that there is a state called flow which can be measured by the amount of challenge people have compared with their level of skill. The challenge is to increase challenge in ways where we feel aroused. That in turns increases our level of skill which then creates a sense of flow which is manifested in feelings of ecstasy. Boredom and apathy are the biggest contributors to decrease of flow. Watching television is the largest contributor to apathy although he does note that seven to eight percent of the time television can be part of flow provided you are watching a program you want to watch and you receive feedback from it.
Interesting program and Csikszentmihaly has written other books on how to incorporate activities that increase your level of flow. The obvious takeaway from his research is to find those activities that challenge you while increasing skill level in some way. Bruce Lee seems to be describing a sense of flow through martial arts below. Bill Evans, the jazz pianist described it through composing music and the art of creativity. Csikszentmihaly interviewed business leaders who have been nominated by their peers as being very successful, very ethical, and very socially responsible who describe a sense of flow through their enterprises. Their are a variety of modes but similar mechanics involved in the process.