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Yeah, I hear you. FWIW, I'd much, much recommend the book by the Hungarian psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's (or Mr. C): Flow -- the psychology of optimal experience. I'm reading it the second time on a physical copy (comparing my notes from 3 years ago, when I read it on the Kindle).

It seems like Carl Newport and other "new age" writers in this area are largely repackaging (but with much less "signal") what Mr. C said, but set in "current times".

But still, I find Mr. C's book much more timeless. Partly because he dedicated much of his entire life to understanding Flow in humans, and partly because the book is full of signal.




To be fair, flow is in a sense the opposite of what Cal Newport often advocates. Flow occurs when you have expertise and have bouts of huge productivity. Cal focuses a lot more in acquiring that expertise, which involves quite the opposite. Long bouts of painfully low productivity as you struggle to advance your skills yet one notch higher.


Hmm, let's precisely define what Mr. C calls as flow (or "optimal state"), as mentioned in his book:

The optimal state of inner experience is one in which there is order in consciousness. This happens when psychic energy—or attention—is invested in realistic goals, and when skills match the opportunities for action.

Obviously, the book can't be reduced to a single definition, as Mr. C talks quite eloquently about the conditions in which flow occurs, etc. (E.g. The optimal state of inner experience is one in which there is order in consciousness. This happens when psychic energy—or attention—is invested in realistic goals, and when skills match the opportunities for action.)


"Long bouts of painfully low productivity as you struggle to advance your skills yet one notch higher."

But how do you know that the skills you are acquiring are actually the right ones unless you go into a tried and true career path?




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