Friday, August 29, 2008

Birthday Blahs? Not this time!

Just had my ## birthday yesterday - so you at least know I'm into double digits. Not all it should have been but I was actually quite happy for all that.
I think the trick is not to set one's expectations too high. Feeling that the day has to be special and having reality somehow not matching up is a flow-killer. Something like the sad increase in suicides over the holiday period ..... people fell they failed when they aren't as happy as they should be.
While the minor problems encountered are worthy of a separate blog entry the lessons I found in the day are:

  • I determined I was going to have a pleasant but normal day, went to work as usual and just smiled on the inside
  • My secret was safe until my partner had a box of a dozen cup-cakes sent to my work, so my cover was blown but it was a nice surprise and everyone enjoyed the treats
  • It was wonderful to have family and friends send the best wishes - some surprise messages really made me feel good ... and connected
  • And finally, a family dinner with all its dramas, tensions, arguments could not obscure the fact that I was part of a very loving circle.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Is Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi a Flow-Killer?

In checking around the web for some resources on flow I found this video on YouTube which is certainly cute, showing kids struggle to pronounce Mihaly's surname.

To make some amends for taking a poke at our guru's name I will try to make amends by citing 37signals blog, who give the pronounciation as “Chicks sent me high”.


Others Thinking About Flow

There seem to be a growing number of references to flow in what I read.

I'm not sure if it is just because of my recent decision to blog, which may be making me more aware of it, but it's not a bad thing. Stimulates ones thinking, even if a lot of it gets back to the original ideas in Mihaly's (I don't mean to be overly familiar here, but writing out his full name is a flow-killer!) books.

I have got to be careful in what I saw about the other articles (which I hope to reference and blog about shortly) as it implies that I am expecting greater insights that the original works ..... something I'm sure is not easy both given the great contribution made by Mihaly and the fact that we may not need anymore information to attain flow - just a matter of applying what is know.

Also, for an individual to dissect the "flow phenomena" may be counter-productive to achieving it.

Anyway, there are some good ideas out there!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Attention Deficit Disorder

As I awaited my turn at the Automated Teller Machine yesterday I saw the lady in front complete her transaction and walk towards the neighbouring coffee shop. Earphones firmly inserted, she soon had a couple of folk in the queue calling after her ....

Even I tried to call after her. In vain, she was in her own world and totally oblivious to our calls.

The thing was, she'd just withdrawn cash from the ATM and left without taking the money. Lucky the next person in line was honest ... but really ... how distracted must one be to not even be able to complete a simple, one-minute transaction to its logical end?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Ambigious Purpose of Escalators

Stacey came in late into work some time ago and proceeded to vent her frustration.

Apparently people were moving too slowly as she walked from the railway station at rush-hour ..... essentially holding her back and preventing her from making up for her lateness.

She grumbled about the people who blocked her on the escalators and did not let her past. They seemed to think that escalators were for convenience and people actually stopped walking up/down the steps. They were wrong!

Escalators, she explained were designed to let people get up/down faster .... you were not supposed to stop and go along for the ride. You were supposed to keep moving so that everyone moved along faster.

An interesting interpretation. I must admit that I have, on occassion, abused the privelege .... and took a little rest on an escalator.

Monday, August 4, 2008

That Other Meaning of "Pace"

I think it is telling that most of us would associate the word pace with speed - certainly I do, so if nothing else it says something about me.
I have not run a scientific experiment on this subject but it would make an interesting little quiz to give our friends to check this out how they interpret the word.
The fact is that there appear to be about twenty five definitions for the word pace in the dictionary and I have for a very long time been thinking of living my life based, not on the common understanding of the work, but on its meaning as a "measured and regular steps". With this interpretation, pace becomes a more calming term and I had wanted to use it to order my life experiences, so that I did not want things before they were appropriate.
In this way, pacing myself was a goal I had so that I did not suffer from the dissatisfaction that comes from seeing others achieve milestones and feeling inadequate with one's own progress in life. Yes, in some ways it is an excuse for some perceived failure, but instead of giving up on the goal in frustration we can still work towards it but with greater determination and assurance that our time will come without having to rush things.
Hence, we can continue towards our goal without being too distracted by others' successes (or failures) .... like marching to the beat of your own drum.