I’m half-way through the book Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and some of the concepts I read were mindset shifting. So even if I’ve yet to finish reading the book, I thought I would write a little about it to really solidify the concept
Psychic entropy is the state where the mind is perturbed by many problems, big or small, that pulls attention away from the task at hand. Because our attention span is limited, we are unable to pay attention to too many issues at once.
An example is when you get have an unpaid bill, or if you’re feeling tired and hungry, your mind will occasionally get pulled away from the actual task at hand and attention will be wasted on the problems.
We want to keep our Psychic Entropy levels as low as possible, either by addressing them directly to remove them, or clearing your mind and training your focus. Depending on the level of control over issue that caused the perturbation, we will need to take different steps. If the cause of high Psychic Entropy is hunger or sleep, something you can control easily by resting or eating, then we should address it directly. But if the increased Psychic Entropy is due to things you cannot control, such as the fear of global warming, or overly catastrophizing situations, then we need to train our minds to avoid doing so.
Consciousness and Intention
To be conscious, is to be able to direct, control and manipulate the various conscious events (sensations, feelings, thoughts, intentions), and external events (smell, touch, sound) that are happening. Being unconscious, as in the state of sleeping, gives you no control over such conscious events. (You can’t control how or what you dream, unless you mastered lucid dreaming)
If being conscious is the ability to order this information, how we order it is then dictated by Intention. Consciousness is then “Intentionally Ordered information”. Intention tell us what we want to do, and therefore influences how we order the information. For example, if we are hungry, we have the intention to find food. Based on this intention, we order the information we process to give precedence to things that signals the presence of food. The ability of us to do all that is by having Consciousness.
All information that flows through us is inherently neutral. It is our intentions that assign a certain order of importance, or negativity/positivity to it. For example, if I am hungry, and someone takes away my food, I would feel irritated. Whereas if I was full and someone takes away my food, I would be fine with it. The act of taking the food away is neutral, but depending on our goals and intention (eating or not eating), we would feel differently about it.
Intention and Goals
Moving to an even higher level, what dictates our intentions are the goals that we set for ourselves. If we have a goal of losing weight, even if we feel hungry, we will suppress or control the intention of finding food.
Goals therefore direct the intentions we have, which influences how we perceive information.
Attention is the mental ability to process information together with relevant pieces of information from our memory, and make judgements about it.
Concentration is a period of paying attention to something for a long period of time, and when our attention gets pulled away, or distracted, we break the Concentration. This happens when we are in the high Psychic Entropy state.
How we use this limited resource of “Attention” will influence in the kind of life you create. How we spend attention creates the Self, and cyclically, the Self chooses what to spend attention on.
The self also choose what to spend attention on based on the goals we set for ourselves, and if the actions we perform matches the goals we set, we will spend more attention on it. Conversely, if our actions conflicts with our goals, we will not be spending much attention to it, thus being distracted, and not be able to enter the concentrated, flow state.
Immediate Actions for Now
Find out how to reduce your Psychic Entropy, so you have more mental capacity for undistracted attention towards your tasks.
Set concrete goals (S.M.A.R.T), so you can have a clear idea of what to spend your attention on, allowing you to get into the flow state more frequently.