goal setting

Chasing that state called “flow”

For a long time I have searched for a reason for our goal-driven nature that went beyond a simple evolutionary psychology explanation: our hard wired drive to perpetuate our gene pool, our need to satisfy basic needs (food, shelter, sex). Goal oriented humans would have had a better chance of survival. Without a goal oriented nature we would not hunt or gather. But in the developed world at least, those basic human needs are generally taken care of (at least basically). A simple evolutionary explanation does not suffice.

In his book “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi suggests that our prime goal has moved from basic survival to the desire for happiness. Yet we are no happier than our ancestors despite the trappings of the modern world. Happiness cannot be found in materialism. Happiness, according to Mihaly (and I tend to agree) is found in the state he calls flow. Much like Eckhard Tolie, flow is living in the “now” but is different in that Eckhard focuses on egolessness and Mihaly focuses on matching talent and challenge.

Much has been written on flow since Mihaly introduced the concept (although the fundamental idea is not new).Read More »Chasing that state called “flow”

The power of the subconscious – fact or fiction

What role does the subconscious mind play in goal driven behaviour? SImply Google “subconscious” and you’ll find a host of self help sources promising to unleash the power of the subconscious, or as Anthony Robbins puts it “Awaken the Giant Within”. “Alternative” theories of the role of the subconscious in goal achievement abound. Wikipedia is somewhat scathing: “The idea of the ‘subconscious’ as a powerful or potent agency has allowed the term to become prominent in the New Age and self-help literature, in which investigating or controlling its supposed knowledge or power is seen as advantageous. In the New Age community, techniques such as autosuggestion and affirmations are believed to harness the power of the subconscious to influence a person’s life and real-world outcomes“.Read More »The power of the subconscious – fact or fiction

Could you be James Bond?

Do you what it takes to be a secret agent? James Bond needs to have a high  level awareness and attention. Let’s see if you make the grade. Here’s an exercise for you to do to test your awareness. Watch the video below and see how many passes the team in white makes?

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Attention is a “spotlight on experience”. The mechanism of attention  decides what we bring into conscious awareness and what we do not.
Read More »Could you be James Bond?

The psychology of goal setting

Nassim Nicholas Taleb describes his book, “The Black Swan“, as a book about confirmation bias. The black swan is very rare, and if you had never seen nor heard of a black swan you might be inclined to say that they do not exist. In an effort to make sense of the world, we create schema, or mental images of how things are (and should be). Furthermore, we tend to search for information that confirms our schema. Let’s say that my schemata for dogs is that dogs are vicious creatures liable to attack at any time, then I am probably going to attend information that confirms my prior belief. For instance, when reading the newspaper, I would attend to an article about a dog attack a small child, but ignore one about a dog saving a child from drowning. You see, attending to any information that runs counter to my dog schemata, then I would create what psychologists call “cognitive dissonance”, and dissonance creates a feeling of unease.Read More »The psychology of goal setting