Heart rate mildly elevated, the sweat glands open, eyes fixated on the task at hand. Time feels slow – or even frozen – but also at once flies by between each glance of the watch. It’s an experience termed flow, which has been famously described by Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi in a book by its namesake.
Flow has many components, but the most easily understood set include challenge and feedback – engaging in a task just sufficiently difficult to the level of ability and knowing immediately whether you did the right thing.
Like Fight Club, the experience was in everyone’s face; Csikszentmihalyi just made it visible. The experience was on everyone’s tongue, and he just gave it a name. In fact, it’s an experience so addictive (yes, flow experience and cocaine both use the dopamine pathway) that we sometimes spend the entire first half of our lives seeking that experience which we call a career. Continue reading
At work, it is now ever-more popular to give and receive feedbacks routinely. These business guys, these doctors, and even these video game makers all talk about giving frequent feedbacks makes you a better whatever-it-is-that-you-do. Unfortunately, very few people talked about the other person – what does one do when all these feedbacks started coming your way from well-intentioned leaders? Continue reading
I spent the better part of childhood playing video games. These absurdist approaches to accomplishment — rescuing a princess by jumping over turtles, rolling ever larger objects until you physically create a moon, or growing potatoes to defend against a brigade of the undead — they were immensely enjoyable. “Enjoyable” was all that video games were ever designed to be… until now.
As a kid, when my mom would grow upset when I go over my allotted hour – usually by factors >100% – I would defend by claiming it is improving my ability to think ahead and coordinate my hands and eyes. Now, twenty years later, science has begun to prove me right. However, when I sent this article to her to prove my point, she just chuckled and said that these things don’t actually translate to better jobs, better income, or even better “real-life” skills. Continue reading