Saturday, September 15, 2007

Flow Chart Control

You're having success on success, your life 'flows by'. It's fun, challenging and exciting. Then... suddenly things start to go wrong and your not in your flow anymore. You're out of control. What happened?

When your challenges and skills are in balance things run smooth in life. This is called Flow

Managing and controlling your personal ´flow chart´, is done by consecutively increasing challenges and skills step by step.
To achieve higher goals we cannot simply set higher challenges. In case of too much challenge, the healthy amount of challenge (arousel) emerges to to stress and finally to anxiety. We often blame the world, but in fact we've to blame ourselves. Bring down the stress, relax or take time to improve your skills (school, training, or reprogramming at an older age in life) until you feel that challenge and skills are rebalanced again.

This principle of balance between challenge and sills is described in Mr. Mihaly Csiksczentmihalyi's book 'Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience".

A summary of Csiksczentmihalyi's teachings is given by the next interesting paradoxes and insights:

  • Happiness
    We cannot reach happiness by consciously searching for it. Don't aim at success - the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot by pursued; it must the unintended side-effect of one's personal dedication to a course greater than oneself." (p. 2)

  • The Paradox of Control
    What people enjoy is not the sense of being in control, but the sense of exercising control in difficult situations. It is not possible to experience a feeling of control unless one is willing to give up the safety of protective routines." (p. 61)
    Achieve control over one's consciousness, overcoming the common perception that our lives are shaped by forces beyond our control. Everyone has experienced times when, instead of being buffeted by anonymous forces, we do feel in control of our actions, masters of our own fate. On the rare occasions that it happens, we feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment that is long cherished and that becomes a landmark in memory for what life should be like. This is what we mean by optimal experience (or flow)

  • Best moment paradox
    Contrary to what we usually believe, moments like these, the best moments of our lives, are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times... The best moments occur when a person's body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and the long run optimal experiences add up to a sense of mastery - or perhaps better, a sense of participation in determining the content of life - that comes as close to what is usually meant by happiness as anything else we can conceivably imagine." (pp. 2-3)

  • The Purpose of Consciousness
    The Purpose of Consciousness is to represent information about what is happening outside and inside the organism in such a way that it can be evaluated and acted upon by the body (p. 24).However, it is noted that consciousness also shapes and filters what enters our consciousness, thus determining what we experience as our life.

  • Optimal Experiences

  • Examples of 'optimal experiences' are activities such as making music, rock climbing, dancing, sailing, chess, and so forth. What makes these activities conducive to flow is that they were designed to make optimal experience easier to achieve. They have rules that require the learning of skills, they set goals, they provide feedback, they make control possible. They facilitate concentration and involvement by making the activity as distinct as possible from the so-called "paramount reality" of everyday existence." (p. 72)

  • The Transformation of Time
    One of the most common descriptions of 'optimal experience' is that time no longer seems to pass the way it ordinarily does...

  • The Paradox of Work
    In our studies we have often encountered a strange inner conflict in the way people relate to the way they make their living. On the one hand, our subjects usually report that they have had some of their most positive experiences while on the job. From this response it would follow that they would wish to be working, that their motivation on the job would be high. Instead, even when they feel good, people generally say that they would prefer not to be working, that their motivation on the job is low. The converse is also true: when supposedly enjoying their hard-earned leisure, people generally report surprisingly low moods; yet they keep on wishing for more leisure." (p. 158)

  • The quality of life

    The quality of life depends on two factors: how we experience work, and our relations with other people

1 comment:

prashanth said...

Hi sir,
I keep visting your blog now and then.Once i had told you that v share many ideas and have much in common except age:)I had read Flow 3 years ago.It is one of my favourite books.It's good to see you disseminate its quintessence through your blog.Apart from that, all your postings are extremely great and the way you present any topic/idea proves your knlowledge,creativity and noesis.Im a great fan of your blog:)