Frying Your Brain Will Make You Very Happy
for the past week I’ve been working from 6 AM to 8 PM on week days and 6 AM to 4 PM on weekends, at 8 PM I go work out with my wife and then we’re free to have fun for a few hours. I‘m doing this because I’m finishing my PhD in physics and working on learning game design. So why am I telling you this? Definitely not to brag, there is nothing to brag about, but I want to share with you how much it’s making me happy.
Getting Into the Zone
If you haven’t read the book “Flow” by the famous psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi then you should, I think that book basically has the secret to happiness. The problem is the secret to happiness involves a lot of hard work!
In one of the chapters Mihaly talks about farmers in Alpine villages, what he found surprising is that even though these people don’t have a distinction between “work” and “free time”, even though they wake up at 5 AM and “work“ all day, to them it’s enjoyable, because it puts them in a state of flow. If you played a difficult video game, or sports and you were “in the zone”, then you know how good it feels to “work” hard on something enjoyable.
You get into flow, when you are working on a clear challenging goal that you believe you can overcome, by growing your skill and increasing your space of possibilities.
Ego depletion is another famous psychological idea (google marshmallow test), the basic idea is that your will power is like a muscle, it get’s tired if you use it too much it get’s harder to use it without resting. being happy researches you will power (as well as glucose).
A Combination of Flow and Ego Depletion
I think that’s the reason I’m happy, I’m in flow when I work on things that I love that stretch my abilities and help me grow. And resting helps me recharge my will power. Don’t forget that happiness is important for recharging, working hard and being stressed is a loser’s game.
Fry Your Brain and Enjoy the Rewards
If you get into flow and work all day on something enjoyable, you will feel good about the sense of accomplishment.
I think there is a more subtle reason for being happy at the end of the day: Your Brain is fried; you do not have any will power to worry about useless things you can let go more easily, you’re talk more openly and you don’t over analyze things you just feel good. This is magnified by the sense of accomplishment you have.