Lose Yourself

April 8, 2014

The Shushwap region was and is considered by the Indian people to be a rich place: rich in salmon and game, rich in below-ground food resources such as tubers and roots—a plentiful land. In this region, the people would live in permanent village sites and exploit the environs for needed resources. They had elaborate technologies for very effectively using the resource of the environment, and perceived their lives as being good and rich. Yet, the elders said, at times the world become too predictable and the challenge began to go out on life. Without challenge, life had no meaning.

So the elders, in their wisdom, would decide that the entire village should move, those moves occurring every 25 to 30 years. The entire population would move to a different part of the Shushwap land and there, they found challenge. There were new streams to figure out, new game trails to learn, new areas where the balsamroot would be plentiful. Now life would regain its meaning and be worth living. Everyone would feel rejuvenated and healthy. Incidentally, it also allowed exploited resources in one area to recover after years of harvesting…

March 31, 2014
I came across this today in Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s “FLOW: The Psychology of Optimal Experience”. The idea of losing the sense of self is something that I strive for as a UX designer working on the Nike+ Running app. Hopefully the following will inspire you especially if you’re working in the health/self-improvement space.

There is one very important and at first apparently paradoxical relationship between losing the sense of self in a flow experience, and having it emerge stronger afterward. It almost seems that occasionally giving up self-consciousness is necessary for building a strong self-concept. Why this should be so is fairly clear. In flow a person is challenged to do her best, and must constantly improve her skills. At the time, she doesn’t have the opportunity to reflect on what this means in terms of the self—if she did allow herself to become self-conscious, the experience could not have been very deep. But afterward, when the activity is over and self-consciousness has a chance to resume, the self that the person reflects upon is not the same self that existed before the flow experience: it is now enriched by new skills and fresh achievements.

Also check out Mihaly’s TED talk from 2004. Enjoy and be inspired!


Mihaly’s TED talk from 2004