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The Psychology of Flow

The Psychology of Flow
What is it like to be fully alive, right now, engaged with what you are doing? That’s the psychology of flow. When the happiness and creativity expert Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi was studying how painters work, he noticed an odd thing. When their painting was going well they didn’t care about getting tired, hungry or uncomfortable, they just carried on. But when the painting was finished, they rapidly lost interest in it. What was this special state of mind that seemed to absorb the whole of your being? When you’re in a flow state: an hour can pass in the blink of an eye,you feel what you are doing is important,you’re not self-conscious,action and awareness merges,you feel in full control,and the experience is intrinsically rewarding. To create a flow experience, you need: The experience of flow has been studied amongst surgeons, writers, artists, scientists, athletes and people just socialising and playing games. It’s not always easy to achieve but being in a state of flow is a beautiful thing. Related:  How To Focus Your AttentionMotivationLearning

Super-Focus: 10 Natural Steps to Nurture Your Attention How to deal with interruptions, structure your environment, enter a flow state and much more… “Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. 1. It might seem strange to start a series of pointers on building attention with the directive to stop paying attention… …actually not. You can only concentrate efficiently for a certain period of time. A good general rule, though, is that most people’s ability to focus on anything starts to waver after the length of a typical sitcom: 20 minutes or so. After that, it’s time to take a short break and recharge the attentional batteries. By building in regular breaks for your attention, you’ll be able to concentrate more in the long-run. 2. Since attention only lasts a certain period, it’s good practice to chunk down whatever you’re doing. It helps to boost motivation if there’s a smaller task to be completed in a manageable block of time that contributes to your overall goal. 3. 4. But, whatever the right environment is for you, go there. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

How To Motivate People - 4 Steps Backed By Science Employees, spouses, kids — what does it take to get people motivated so you don’t have to nag them? Motivation is powerful. It predicts success better than intelligence, ability, or salary. Via The 100 Simple Secrets of Successful People: When tested in national surveys against such seemingly crucial factors as intelligence, ability, and salary, level of motivation proves to be a more significant component in predicting career success. I’ve covered persuasion, leadership, improving habits and fighting procrastination but what’s it take to get others to really give their best? 1) Stop Bribing Them When actors would ask the great film director Alfred Hitchcock “What’s my motivation?” Rewards definitely work. Researchers find that perceived self-interest, the rewards one believes are at stake, is the most significant factor in predicting dedication and satisfaction toward work. But as Dan Pink explains in Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us there’s a problem with this equation:

Internet Psychology 50 psychology studies reveal how people are using email, Facebook, Twitter, online dating and more. Twitter is an unsocial network. 59% of people check email from the bathroom. Online daters do lie, but only a little. These are just a few of the psychological insights revealed in more than 50 internet psychology studies. Image credit: Darren Hester Zanshin: Learning the Art of Attention and Focus From a Legendary Samurai Archer In the 1920s, a German man named Eugen Herrigel moved to Japan and began training in Kyudo, the Japanese martial art of archery. Herrigel was taught by a legendary Kyudo master named Awa Kenzo. Kenzo was convinced that beginners should master the fundamentals of archery before attempting to shoot at a real target and he took this method to the extreme. When he was finally allowed to shoot at targets on the far end of the practice hall, Herrigel’s performance was dismal. Kenzo paused for a moment and then said, “Come to see me this evening.” Archery, Blindfolded After night had fallen, the two men returned to the courtyard where the practice hall was located. Immediately, Kenzo drew a second arrow and again fired into the night. Everything Is Aiming Great archery masters often teach that “everything is aiming.” Zanshin is a word used commonly throughout Japanese martial arts to refer to a state of relaxed alertness. In practice, though, zanshin has an even deeper meaning. Read Next

Le FLOW : l'expérience optimale ou autotélique (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990, 2004, 2005) - Bloc-notes de Jean Heutte : sérendipité, phronèsis et atharaxie sont les trois mamelles qui nourrissent l'Épicurien de la connaissance ;-) Article mis à jour le 19 mars 2011 Dans le souci d'identifier les conditions qui caractérisent les moments décrits par les gens comme étant parmi les meilleurs moments de leur vie, Csikszentmihalyii (1975) a interrogé des alpinistes, des joueurs d’échec, des compositeurs de musique et bien d’autres personnes qui consacrent beaucoup de temps et d’énergie à des activités pour le simple plaisir de les faire sans recherche de gratifications conventionnelles comme l’argent ou la reconnaissance sociale. Les résultats de ces recherches lui ont permis de définir le concept de l’expérience optimale, qu’il appelle "Flow" (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990), et qui réfère à l’état subjectif de se sentir bien (Csikszentmihalyi & Patton, 1997). Le Flow peut être ressenti dans divers domaines tels l’art, l’enseignement, le sport... Le Flow se manifeste souvent quand il y a perception d’un équilibre entre ses compétences personnelles et la demande de la tâche (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975). 1. 2. 3. 4.

7 More Psychological Techniques Trying to make connections? Here are seven more research-based techniques to increase creativity. “Creativity can solve almost any problem. Following on from a previous article on how to be creative, which had a tremendous response, here are another 7 techniques for breaking through a creative block. 1. Conjuring up what might have been gives a powerful boost to creativity. Markman et al. (2007) found that using counterfactuals (what might have happened but didn’t) sometimes doubled people’s creativity. Analytical problems are best tackled with a subtractive mind-set: thinking about what could have been taken away from the situation.Expansive problems benefited most from an additive counterfactual mind-set: thinking about what could have been added to the situation. 2. People solve many problems analogically: by recalling a similar old one and applying the same, or similar solution. So don’t avoid complications, gather them all up; they may well help jog your memory. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Jeff Weiner On How To Focus And Get The Right Things Done Source: PicJumbo. If you want to be successful in life and work, you have to learn how to lead. But before you can lead others, you have to lead by example. Jeff Weiner, founder of LinkedIn, has a powerful mechanism for leadership: he has FOCUS (a.k.a. But Weiner’s philosophy isn’t only applicable to running a successful social networking company; it’s applicable to behaviour change as well. Let’s discuss how. F: Fewer Things Done Better “When [Weiner] took the reins of [LinkedIn] he could easily have adopted the standard operating procedure of most Silicon Valley start-ups and tried to pursue everything”, writes Greg McKeown in Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. Learning new behaviours and Tiny Habits is exciting – especially when you’re new to it. Instead of stopping and starting new habits as and when you feel motivated, focus on ONE and “show up” consistently. Build a Tiny Habit by making it so easy you can’t say no and count the number of days you do it, consecutively.

How To Be Motivated: 4 New Insights From Research Sometimes there is not enough coffee in universe to get you going. How to be motivated is something we all struggle with at some time or another. Or, um, daily. Motivation is such a mystery. It’s a feeling and we understand it so poorly it feels impossible to do anything about it. Is there anyone who can unravel the science of how motivation works and tell us what to do? Dan Pink wrote the book on motivation. He’s the New York Times bestselling author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. His books have sold more than 2 million copies. Here’s what I love about Dan: He’s not the type to write a book and just move on. Here’s what you’ll get from this post: Why you don’t feel motivated.What the research says really produces motivation.The single most motivating thing there is and how to have it in your life.The biggest mistake you’re making when it comes to motivation. Let’s get to it… 1) This Is Why You Don’t Feel Motivated Rewards like money are tricky. Here’s Dan: Autonomy

The Psychology of Storytelling and Empathy, Animated I want to tell you a story about two neurochemicals… Storytelling has remarkable effects on our brain and on our behaviour. In a series of experiments in his lab, Paul Zak has shown that when watching a short, sad story about a father and son, two interesting neurochemicals are produced: Cortisol–which people feel as distress and encourages them to pay attention to the story.Oxytocin–which promotes connection and care and encourages people to feel empathy. After experiencing the story, people who produced the most oxytocin were the most likely to give money to others they couldn’t see. The molecule seemed to make them more generous (Zak et al., 2007). This video explains the research and how it connects to a 150-year-old theory of storytelling: Stories without key elements–including a climax and denouement–do not engage the brain in the same way. Oxytocin doesn’t just make us more generous, though, it’s effects can be harnessed for less noble purposes. Zak said:

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