April 21, 2011 in Born to Learn, Uncategorized
This is a review of Csikszentmihalyi Mikhaily’s psychology of optimal experience by Leigh Richter, written just after reading a pre-publication of Overschooled but Undereducated in 2008
Being a teenager, I am compelled to write from a teenage perspective, and to promote in my writing, the benefits of adolescence and of course, point out all those lovely mistakes we humans are so fond of making. I love writing, I always have. It comes naturally to me and I find myself wanting to write more when I am enthused or thoroughly interested about something. When I was writing a piece on being Overschooled but Undereducated, I started out, like all good students are taught to start out, with an outline of what to write and include, and organized all the quotes I could possibly use. But as soon as the first sentence was down, I forgot about my carefully composed plan, letting it collect dust as my mind and fingers whirled away with the ideas glistening at the tendrils of my vivacious brain.
So what is this flow I write of? Csikszentmihalyi asks his readers to think of ‘life’ in the simplest terms; what we experience every day, whatever it may include. In this context, flow is easily applicable, but even more easily ignored. We go about our lives doing the most mediocre tasks that must be done in order to properly paint the picture of everyday life. Once in a while though, the paints are smeared together to create something completely different; someone new walks into our life, we are given an opportunity, an everyday task suddenly becomes interesting. But as we become used to these new as¬pects of life, they begin to fade into the canvas, their lines clearly defined yet the colours dulled. How¬ever, keeping your mind active and constantly finding new ways to accomplish certain tasks would allow you to keep a flow of energy. This flow of energy would act as a fifth gear, enabling you to persist in your task without becoming tired or discouraged, because your mind would be constantly involved in a fascinated state.
How many times a day do you begin something you must do and stop again and again because you are tired, or because you can’t seem to focus? It is common knowledge that the more energy you exert, the more tired you become. The same goes for mental recreation. So when we are forcing our¬selves to do something that requires little thought, we are actually using extra thought just trying to convince ourselves to keep going, as well as trying to stay focused. In this way, we tire ourselves out and are committed to boredom many times a day. Every human, no matter who they are or where they live, will at some point in their lives be subject to some kind of schedule or daily routine. For most, the earliest such a systematic life enters our lives is during the time in which we attend school.
For the full review click here, and for “A Young Person’s Guide to Overschooled but Undereducated” click here.