FLOW: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Harper and Row, 1990. (via timoni)
The studies have suggested that the phenomenology of enjoyment has eight major components. When people reflect on how it feels when their experience is most positive, they mention at least one, and often all, of the following:
1. We confront tasks we have a chance of completing;
2. We must be able to concentrate on what we are doing;
3. The task has clear goals;
4. The task provides immediate feedback;
5. One acts with deep, but effortless involvement, that
removes from awareness the worries and frustrations
of everyday life;
6. One exercises a sense of control over their actions;
7. Concern for the self disappears, yet, paradoxically
the sense of self emerges stronger after the flow
experience is over; and
8. The sense of duration of time is altered.
The combination of all these elements causes a sense of deep enjoyment that is so rewarding people feel that expending a great deal of energy is worthwhile simply to be able to feel it.