The Flow Experiment

posted in: Goals and Plans, Reading, Reflections | 0

It’s been a long time since I last posted on here, and I don’t know what to say – at the beginning of the year I told myself I would post 2013’s review and 2014’s plans, but I kept forgetting, and then suddenly it was the beginning of February. I decided then that I wouldn’t post any yearly or monthly or weekly reviews, because I couldn’t bother with promising to do something that I might not be able to do. So what I’m going to do is post occasionally, on different things I encounter in my daily life.

Today, I’m writing about Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, a book by Daniel Pink. Here’s the review I wrote for it on Goodreads, plus some bonus details:

An amazing book, with interesting insights into motivation, and why the current system of carrot-and-stick rewards doesn’t work for human nature.

One of the most important things discussed is “flow,” a state in which you’re so concentrated about your work that you don’t notice other things around you. It is important for us to find out which of activities that we normally pursue on a daily basis enable us to be in a state of flow, because without it, we will be exposing ourselves to psychological damage.

An experiment, designed by a prominent psychologist, Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi, to help determine when you’re in a state of flow is described in the book. Over the course of the day, set 8 timers at random intervals, and answer three questions when they ring:

– What am I doing?
– How am I feeling?
– Am I in a state of “flow”?

Rinse and repeat for an entire week, then analyze the results.

Personally, I am going to try this, and I can’t wait to see what kind of results I get. However, as an aspiring scientist, I cannot embark on an experiment without a hypothesis, so here are some predictions regarding the results:

I will be in a state of flow while:

– reading interesting books
– working on my novel, Candy Curse
– studying the subjects I’ve chosen for my A Levels
– interacting with other people in meaningful conversations

I will not be in a state of flow while:

– doing my chores
– surfing the Internet idly
– watching movies/TV
– chatting about useless things

I will aim to report on this experiment everyday for the next 7 days, which I hope my preoccupied mind will not fail to remember.

Stay tuned.

Your thoughts on this will be appreciated!