The Community of Scholars: Grit, Flow, & FLIGBY

The Community of Scholars: Grit, Flow, & FLIGBY

Many students are curious about the relationships between research, understanding, and synthesis.  My collaborative presentation experience at the Fifth World Congress on Positive Psychology in Montreal, Quebec on July 14, 2017, may help nascent researchers visualize the rewards of interaction with the community of scholars.

My team's presentation, "Grit, Job Satisfaction, and Beyond:  A Theoretical Exploration of Making Physicians 'Grittier' While Increasing Physician Retention in U.S. Healthcare Systems" was discussed during a Roundtable Session.  Other presentations at our table included: 

  • Pleasant Presence:  An Effective Theme in a Group Positive Training for High Functioning Autistic Children (Iran)

  • Self-Care in the Healthcare Workplace (Canada)

  • Happy Nuns, Happy Monks and What We Can Learn From Them (Canada)

Rooms were set with twelve round tables. Each table featured 4-7 presenters, grouped by theme. The intention was to allow presenters to share and discuss their work informally for one hour with others who have conducted similar work or who have a particular interest.   Presenters brought 20 copies of their abstract on a single 8.5" x 11" page for distribution.  Audiovisual equipment was not provided.   The moderator explained that roundtable sessions were a new model that had been piloted three times, were still in development, and were characterized by three "I's":   

  • Informal

  • Interactive

  • Imperfect

Discussions at our Roundtable Session focused on:

  • Strategies for encouraging parents to utilize programs to help their autistic children

  • Initiatives to promote wellness consciousness among healthcare providers

  • Advantages and disadvantages of qualitative research

  • Development of instruments to calibrate happiness

  • Techniques for strengthening physician resilience and engagement

Interestingly enough, contributions from the "listeners" who attended our table added depth and catalyzed innovative interpretation of results. As an example, a participant from Chile shared her sister's brief experience as a nun, as well as insights provided by a monk who officiated at her own wedding.  As another example, a participant who was interested in exploring new research projects led a spirited discussion of whether happiness is an object that can be pursued or a byproduct of meaningful activities.

After this intellectually stimulating session, I learned that Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi was at the adjacent Roundtable Session, presenting "Towards a Science of Peace, Building the Future of Human Capital."  I was able to meet him, express respect for his thought leadership on flow, thank him for his foundational contributions to my own doctoral research, and learn about his pioneering Science for Peace project.  During the next hour, I learned about FLIGBY (Flow is Good Business for You) during Professor Csikszentmihalyi's presentation on "Gamifying Flow:  Lessons in Activating Leadership Strengths and Decisionmaking in Organizations and Education."  During the questions-and-answers session, my comments on potential academic applications for FLIGBY were well received.

My point? The rewards of research include discovery, understanding, and opportunities to fulfill lifelong dreams, such as meeting thought leaders!


Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2017, July 13-16). The theory and research that shaped the gamification of flow.  Montreal, Quebec: International Positive Psychology Association's Fifth World Congress on Positive Psychology.

Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Bechara, A. O. (2017, July 13-16). Towards a science of peace, building the future of human capital. Montreal, Quebec: International Positive Psychology Association's Fifth World Congress on Positive Psychology.

Duthely, L. M., Underdahl, L., & Jones-Meineke, T. (2017, July 13-16). Grit, job satisfaction, and beyond: A theoretical exploration of making physicians 'grittier' while increasing physician retention in U.S. healthcare systems.  Montreal, Quebec: International Positive Psychology Association's Fifth World Congress on Positive Psychology.


Walker Ladd's picture Walker Ladd | August 7, 2017 12:10 pm MST

Hi, Dr. Underdahl,

Your appreciation for the relationships between wellness and health is a wonderful reminder of the role that research plays not only in helping society understand its pathogens but its potential. 

Thank you for this offering!

Dr. Ladd

Associate University Research Chair,

Center for Health Engineering and Research

University Research Methodologist

Louise Underdahl's picture Louise Underdahl | August 9, 2017 12:26 pm MST

Hi Dr. Ladd,

Thank you for sharing my conviction that research plays a pivotal role in helping society correct its pathogens and promote wellness and health.  

As an example, consider hopelessness as both a pathogen and improvement opportunity.  Research indicates that hopelessness may be a predictor of coronary heart disease (Possell et al., 2015) and validates future studies on whether reducing hopelessness would lead to fewer incidents of heart attack. Participation in the University Research Centers is a marvelous venue for creating a brighter tomorrow.


Possell, P., Mitchell, A.M., Ronkainen, K., Kaplan, G.A., Kuahanen, J. (2015). Do depressive symptoms predict the incidence of myocardial infarction independent of hopelessness? Journal of Health Psychology, 20(1), 60-68. doi.10.1177/1359105313498109


Maureen Marzano's picture Maureen Marzano | August 10, 2017 4:54 pm MST



Thank you for presenting some of the key elements of this conference.  I would be interested in knowing more about the two presentations of:

·       Pleasant Presence:  An Effective Theme in a Group Positive Training for High Functioning Autistic Children (Iran)

·       Self-Care in the Healthcare Workplace (Canada)


I have a research background and an interest in both areas.


Maureen Marzano Ph.D., MBA

DHA Program  Lead Faculty Area Chair


Louise Underdahl's picture Louise Underdahl | August 10, 2017 9:16 pm MST

Hi Maureen,

Thank you for your interest!

  • Naghmeh Taghva represents Tarbiat Modares University, Psychology, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran and the Center for Treatment of Autistic Disorders, Tehran.  Dr. Taghva collaborated with S. Bagherian Khosroshahi and H. Pouretemad.  Study results indicated that pleasant presence is one of the effective themes in treating autism.  Facial and gestural happiness, positive cooperation, reduced behavioral problems during the sessions, interest in entering the class, passionate volunteering, and involving in activities are five subthemes of the pleasant presence them.  Findings contributed to understanding High Functioning Autistic children and designing gropu programs for them.
  • Airan Yuan, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada described the importance of enhancing healthy self-care practices.  Research indicates compassion towards oneself and others leads to better task performance at work.  The study logistics and findings were described in detail.

I hope this information is helpful!


Fathiah Inserto's picture Fathiah Inserto | September 6, 2017 5:42 pm MST

Hello Louise:

Thanks for sharing the information. I am in transition from a large city to living in  two 2 bordertowns - one in California and the other in Arizona. An area of interest is in the well being of seniors who have chosen to live in trailer parks and so-called tiny houses. I interact with seniors at lunch and wondered how they got 'here ' and how they keep well physically and mentally. I have observed self-serving behaviors and could relate to the point made on 'compassion towards oneself' but not to others. Perhaps Yuan's study could reinforce the importance of healthy self-care practices in this community as well. 

Thanks for sharing.



About the Author

Louise Underdahl



Journal of Leadership Studies-Symposium Piece-Relational Leadership: Perspectives of Key Constructs on Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Equity in Higher Education

Psychology Today
Blog Posts Published


American Psychological Association Conference-Utilizing Clinical Hypnotherapeutic Intervention with CBT to Treat Pandemic-Aug. 13-2021 Symptomology

ILA Conference Geneva Switzerland 2021
Presenter -Topic-"The Stress Arc in Leadership and 3 Powerful Disciplines for Mitigating Major Stress Impacts in a New Era"-Upcoming
Presenter -Topic-“Improving Higher Education’s Role in Diversity and Social Equity through Relational Leadership in the New Era”-Upcoming
Presenter-Topic-"Healthcare Leadership-Using Virtuous Leadership in Chaos to Reimagine Beneficial Practices of Employee Cognitive Psychology"-Upcoming
2021-Knowledge Without Boundaries National Summit-College of Doctoral Studies Research Conference-University of Phoenix-Panel Discussion-"Exploring Emergent Trends in Leadership and Education"-Based on published symposia article from the Journal of Leadership Studies-


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