# Flow experience is an autotelic experience
Flow experience is an autotelic experience, this means an activity is enjoyable just for the sake of it, not because of the outcome of the activity. The word autotelic is derived from 2 Greek words, auto meaning self, and telos meaning goal. You are having an autotelic experience when you’re not doing because you are expecting a future reward, but because the activity itself is the reward. An example of autotelic experience is when a programmer codes because they enjoy creating softwares or coding, not because they have to do it to pay for the rent.
Mihaly, Flow (p. 67).
The key element of an optimal experience is that it is an end in itself. Even if initially undertaken for other reasons, the activity that consumes us becomes intrinsically rewarding. […]
Teaching children in order to turn them into good citizens is not autotelic, whereas teaching them because one joys interacting with children is.
- Flow activities are exotelic first before they become autotelic
- Even though Flow experience is an autotelic experience, the reality is you can’t possibly know if you would enjoy an activity in an autotelic way before trying them out first. Most people will naturally be reluctant to spend effort in an activity that they don’t know if they will like. This means any activities, don’t matter how well designed they are for flow, will be exotelic first. Once you have tried an activity and the feedback you receive is intrinsically rewarding, that’s the point when the future experience you have in the activity may turn into an autotelic experience.
- Autotelic personality
- Although everyone can learn to enter the flow state (Controlling consciousness is learnable), not everyone have the same level of ability to make everything they do enjoyable. People with an autotelic personality has a greater ability to enter the flow state than an average person, they have the habit of converting everything they encounter into an flow experience (Flow experience is an autotelic experience). Any activities can be converted to enjoyment. This means, based on the The prerequisites of flow experience, autotelic individuals are very good at challenge finding and skill building by themselves.
- How is intrinsic motivation related to autotelic?