I’m a bookseller and yesterday an old lady (who was a mathematics teacher years ago, she told me) asked me about Scratch (“a block-based visual programming language and online community targeted primarily at children”).
Her granddaughter was studying it and she wanted to learn it, being curious. I was amazed, because… it’s not very common.
As she was a bit doubtful, I explained her it was easy to learn, and told her about my pleasure learning HTML and, a long time ago, programming for days in the BASIC language.
But then, I could hear myself telling her about pleasure.
Because I do remember very well the pleasure of programming!
It’s not like writing an article. Maybe more like composing music! It’s something you build (or you weave) and you constantly check if it works properly. You have to develop other ways of thinking, imagine processes. It’s invention!
So it puts you in the state of “flow“. But more important : programming puts your brain in another state, maybe similar to kids’ when they play Lego.
I felt this when I learned English too.
So what I realized is : it’s good sometimes to learn how to do something you don’t know at all. I wonder where it comes from (probably because your brain connects new things)…
What would you choose?
Thanks for reading!
This little article is just made of things I found on the web. It’s made for people who never heard about the “Flow”. I added a little complement with Autotelism…
Mister Csikszentmihalyi is an Hungarian psychologist. He was interested in happiness, and found out a very curious thing : one is happy when one is… busy.
The components of this happiness are :
- challenge-skill balance
- merging of action and awareness
- clarity of goals
- immediate and unambiguous feedback
- concentration on the task at hand
- paradox of control
- transformation of time
- loss of self-consciousness
- autotelic experience
For this last word, I copy paste wiki :
The autotelic personality is one in which a person performs acts because they are intrinsically rewarding, rather than to achieve external goals. Csikszentmihalyi describes the autotelic personality as a trait possessed by individuals who can learn to enjoy situations that most other people would find miserable. Research has shown that aspects associated with the autotelic personality include curiosity, persistence, and humility.
People who have experienced flow, describe the following feelings:
- Completely involved in what we are doing – focused, concentrated.
- A sense of ecstasy – of being outside everyday reality.
- Great inner clarity – knowing what needs to be done, and how well we are doing.
- Knowing that the activity is doable – that our skills are adequate to the task.
- A sense of serenity – no worries about oneself, and a feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of the ego.
- Timelessness – thoroughly focused on the present, hours seem to pass by the minute.
- Intrinsic motivation – whatever produces flow becomes it own reward.
You can find this when you flirt, when you blog, when you videogame, when you… work. Sometimes you have to think back about it when you ask yourself about happiness. It’s a way to show that it can be reached with(in) yourself…
Have a nice day!
In an old article I played with this Chinese idea : Instead of pushing towards our “goals” like stupid bulldozers, it’s maybe smarter to use the propensity of things. The “natural tendency to behave in a particular way, to move in a particular direction.”
Stay positive, keep your chin proud and high, move forward soldier, go go go!
But in Afghanistan, guys from the desert kidnap soldiers, cut their arms, legs and penis, put a solid tourniquet on each stumpextremity to keep them alive before giving back the poor body with a head next to a US base with medics. Purpose is not honorable : “Suffer, now, and until you die”. Medicine now is able to keep these men alive…
The ideal propensity of a warrior is to vanquish. The ideal propensity of a couple is to live in rich harmony (sex, hobbies, communication). The ideal propensity of fast cars is to make the knight-driver feel powerful and to go home faster, you go boy!
Tendencies and propensities have a dark side, Darth, though. The dark propensity of a soldier is trauma, to die or to be wounded. The dark propensity of a couple is drama or worse : manipulation, misunderstandings and boredom. The dark propensity of fast cars is accidents and consequences : death, hospital, disability.
What’s the dial? To watch all paths? Not being angelic? Cut the wrong ways up? Be attentive? Consider other assumptions?
OK : pay attention. That’s good.
“The struggle of maturity is to recover the seriousness of a child at play”.