Challenge

Right now, are you anxious or are you bored? Are you reading this to learn or are you reading it because you are wondering about on the internet? Avoiding boredom and anxiety involves manifesting the optimal experience in your life. Optimal experience, or flow, involves carefully choosing your actions so that they match up with your skill level. This requires humility, you may not be capable of what you expected, but do not fret because you won’t stay there for very long. Flow, or the optimal experience of life, is experienced only when our challenges are enough to capture our entire consciousness. Too difficult of a challenge and we begin to retract and become anxious, thinking about all the ways we are inadequate. Too easy and the task becomes boring, we might start thinking about what’s for dinner, or simply split our attention onto other tasks.

The goal is to choose a task and adjust it accordingly. You lower the difficulty of a task when you are anxious and increase the difficulty when you are bored. For instance, you may find yourself completing a task at work when your boss throws 2 other projects on you at the same time. You know that these other projects are urgent, so you become anxious. The anxiety is an indicator that you have too much for your given skill level or allotted time. To fix this issue and get back to optimal experience you must (a) have a talk with your boss and try to find someone else to do one of the tasks or (b) find someone else in the company to help you or take on one of the tasks. If neither of these work, maybe it’s time to seriously reconstruct the work environment, hire more people, or find the people who are not doing a whole lot and give them more work. These people who are bored most of their day may not like the extra work at first, but if it fills their day with an optimal experience, then they will surely thank you for it in the end. I think it would be extremely important for things to change if the workforce was anxious. An overloaded workforce of anxious people always leads to some sort of catastrophe, probably resulting in more money/energy/sanity lost than saved.

If on the other hand, you are bored, say, with life or a certain area of life. It is probably because you do not have enough to do, or the tasks you are doing are unclear, or not difficult enough. Contrary to common belief, we are not happiest when we have no obligations. Instead of happiness, we experience psychic entropy, where our brains gradually atrophy and our control over our consciousness declines. The means to staving off psychic entropy is by engaging in activities which challenge us just enough that we are fully engaged.

At home, we are often void of clear goals and challenges. We get home and plop down on the couch and let psychic entropy do it’s thing, pulling our attention in any way it pleases. Instead, we can enjoy our homelife more if we structure things into meaning directions. For instance, we may make it a goal to read to our kids for 15 minutes a night, or learn to cook a new meal, or cook with the family, or do an activity together. If you are single you may make it a goal to watch a movie with a specific goal in mind, like trying to decipher the psychological significance of the film, or become an expert in identifying quality dialogue, or filming.

The key thing is to challenge ourselves and focus on a particular goal. The default mode of our minds are entropic, to be happier and healthier we need to set ourselves clear goals that challenge us. Then we can spend our times in a focused and engaged state, and constantly become more developed and complex.

Hustle it up!

1 thought on “Challenge”

  1. “Contrary to common belief, we are not happiest when we have no obligations” – so interesting that this idea has somehow become entrenched in our culture; I noticed it most when I taught high school and in teens I tutor, in the way they talk about their ideal futures, etc… but a life that has no responsibilities is in many ways meaningless! Trying to undermine that idea and show the value of contribution to others and of work, especially with many young people, is tough

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