Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
Key idea: our happiness can depend more on our state of mind than on external factors.
Almost any activity can become the source of happiness if you nerd in deep enough. The key is to find the activity that you can easily turn into a game and start enjoying the process rather than waiting for the outcome. of learning and self-improvement. Google “8 elements of Flow.”
The book is worth starting but not necessarily finishing. I abandoned it about halfway through when I became annoyed with the pattern “you can find enjoyment, doing X, here’s how” for different X.
Random ideas or facts that I found inspiring or entertaining
The author differentiates “passive happiness” (pleasure) from “active happiness” (enjoyment). What may look the same on the surface can bring different sensations to different people. You need to train to enjoy the activity.
Alright, maybe those wines for hundreds of bucks per bottle are worth their price. For me, that would be a waste of money, as I’m not trained to enjoy the process.
Different by their nature activities can result in the same sense of flow. The book has tons of examples, and I’d say mostly built around them.
Examples of people finding happiness in prisons or concentration camps, are very inspiring.
Surgeons say that surgeries can be as addictive as heroin. Generally speaking, flow can be very addictive.
Can excessive addiction to programming ruin your family life?
Don’t be afraid to be an amateur. There’s nothing wrong with spending a lot of time on something that you’ll never master as well as professionals do, as long as you enjoy the process.
A lot of parents, especially in Russia, are doing it wrong with their kids. The attitude is, what’s the point in figure skating if you’re not going to become the new Plushenko? Too much pressure, too little enjoyment.
How it affected how I do things
One thing I started doing differently after reading the book: playing football on Sundays. I stopped being obsessed by my performance and the score, and instead, I gave myself the freedom to immerse myself in the game to the fullest. In general, I started being concentrated less on the result and more on the process. A much better experience!