Goal setting is another subset of this. In the beginning your goals shouldn’t be too lofty, or it will lead to anxiety in the form of disappointment or self-censure. Also, they shouldn’t be too easy to achieve, or boredom will result. Finding goals that are both challenging and just within your ability to fulfill, will create an optimal experience in your life that will provide tremendous joy as well as enhancing and stretching your capabilities.
What constitutes enjoyment of life? Optimal Experience offers a comprehensive survey of theoretical and empirical investigations of the 'flow' experience, a desirable or optimal state of consciousness that enhances a person's psychic state. The authors show the diverse contexts and circumstances in which flow is reported in different cultures, and describe its positive emotional impacts. They reflect on ways in which the ability to experience flow affects work satisfaction, academic success, and the overall quality of life
On the other hand, if your skill level well exceeds the difficulty of the activity, you enter the area of boredom. Recently I was invited to join a local martial arts club. Because I’ve been involved with martial arts since I was eight, I quickly became bored at the lack of difficulty the students and instruction presented and am now looking for a more challenging place to train. Clearly that wasn’t an optimal experience for me either.
It is only when you can match a level of difficulty with the limits of your skill that you will achieve the state of flow.
We had a good speaker line up this year – Trent Mankelow (Optimal Experience), Robbie van Dam (Good Nature), Dr Stewart Collie (Ag Research), Siobhan Bulfin (Social Code), Rob Ford (Livestock Improvement Corporation), and John Gertsakis (Infoactiv). I missed the talks from Stewart and John. The lessons shared from the remaining four were both practical and profound – I summarize these below.