Want to Enjoy Life More? The Secret is Learning to Be an Autotelic

If you are continually living in your head, you become disconnected from the flow of life — which is only ever found right here, in the present moment.

Chirry Kim
3 min readMar 24, 2022


Photo on Pixabay

I am tired, and exhausted of flipping through life like a book.

Life is not a book to be skimmed through. It is one to be mindfully read, and lived.

If you are like me, you have probably read a whole book, and wondered what was inside? We rush with the goal of completing a book, and thinking the pleasurable part is somewhere near the author's conclusion.

Disappointments ensue when we realize that we may have missed the important, and meaningful while rushing. Sadly, we can never recover such missed opportunities.

Ram Dass reminds us that we need to be here now. He writes,

Ask yourself: Where am I? Answer Here.

Ask yourself: What time is it? Answer Now.

Say it until you can hear it.

Being deeply connected to what you are doing is the secret to experiencing life fully, as opposed to the flipping problem that has made our lives meaningless, and exhausting.

Wherever you are right now is the most important place in the world. Whoever you’re with is the most important person in the world. And whatever you’re doing is the most important thing in the world.

How do we develop the ability to deeply connect to this moment?

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi introduces a personality skill that can be learned. He calls people who are deeply connected to life, the autotelic.

He writes, “autotelic’s are more involved with everything around their lives, because they are fully immersed in the current of life.”

Being fully immersed in your current life requires attention to the psychic energy, a power responsible for your quality of life.

The highlight of connecting to the flow of the moment is that it helps us to find reward in the action itself, and not on a future goal.

Autotelic comes from two Greek words. Auto means self, and telos means goals.

Remember to enjoy the journey of life. Don’t be so hung up on getting to the finish line that you miss the journey of getting there - Faith Davis

You can identify an autotelic person as they have the following attributes:

  • They are curious, and open about life.
  • They find joy from within.
  • They are rarely driven by external rewards, and much of what they do is intrinsically rewarding.
  • Their gratifications come from doing rather than having.
  • They keep pushing beyond their limits, and constantly find new challenges to grow their self.
  • They lack the need for material possession.
  • They have inexhaustible energy.

If pausing, stopping, and mindfully living each moment of your life experiences is rewarding, fulfilling, and meaningful, that means you can now access what you have been waiting to get at the end of the journey. Good news right?

Learn to focus on the present, and the journey for optimal experiences.

Practice Perfecting each small milestone that will make the whole better.

Know that you can enjoy each unfolding moment as much as the end itself.

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