Monday, January 04, 2010

Interesting video on motivation and "flow"

XUP (and others, I'm sure) was wondering in a comment to a previous post how I could possibly forget to eat meals.

This TEDtalk presentation by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi* explains it well, and presents other paradigms to help me understand other things about myself. Specifically, he describes the state of ecstasy (being outside your normal functioning) around 9 minutes in, and talks about "flow"** (a.k.a. '[being in] the zone') further on, which is an extension of this. Around 15 minutes, he shows a really neat graph*** to describe one's state given variable skill and challenge when faced with a given task (or lack thereof).

It's a bit longwinded, but it gives lots of food for thought:

Unfortunately for me, I tend to experience "flow" right around the last hour or two of my work day. Sometimes I'll work late to take advantage of it, or I'll stay at the office after work to tackle some non-work project (thank goodness for internet access at work! That doesn't block Google and other stuff****!)

Similarly, when I plan to spend a weekend doing an hours-long project, I usually have the most energy to begin it around 11pm on the Sunday.

* I copy-pasted it; I haven't tried pronouncing it yet.
** No, I'm not talking about the monthly kind.
*** Fans of graphs should enjoy the webcomic Indexed
**** No, by "other stuff" I don't mean porn, thank you.

- RG>

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