Sunday, January 25, 2015

What do you have in mind?: The question of how to stir up the interest inside you.

Our main topic for this discussion is "How to achieve maximum efficiency during education." We have got into several things related to the topic, such as 'Flow', or breaching a little bit further while you know your limits. (Sorry, I forgot the specific term..) However, there was something different in my mind for where to start for our discussion on this topic. I was rather interested in how things would start us to achieve the efficient outcome, not only for education, but for anything that we might get into. I believe that getting absorbed into something requires a spark of interest at the beginning of the thing. Of course, the spark of interest doesn't always lead to getting the flow running inside one, but the flow itself cannot exist without the initial spark remaining in the heart of that person. I want to discuss a little bit about how this interest gets inside you, and how it leads to the 'motivation' process which gets us into the flows.

Unfortunately, the way I think about getting the spark of the interest in something is rather very personal: everybody has different personalities, and in my opinion, the unique personality of people influences how people get their interest in various things. To make it a little bit more simple, there is no one straight method that can be applied on anyone in this world to generalize the factor of people getting interested in something. However, that does not simply mean that the trait of getting the interest cannot be generalized. Although specifics might differ between individuals, I think there would be some ways that would be similar among people about how they get their first interest on something. I wish to discuss with our group some general characteristics or traits of how people get interested in things.

One of the things I have spent a lot of my time during my short, 25 years of life is playing games. I know, it sounds a little bit childish and immature. To be honest, I did not have too much time during last semester to get the 'flow' running through my veins for gaming, and I don't think I would have too much time for this semester either. However, I certainly think that gaming was one of the few things that really got me into flow when I was absorbed in it (and I mean like 1~2 years constantly while I was actually aiming for international tournaments, not for like a 1 hour game.) I started playing game casually when I was around 12 years old. I guess it was because not only all other friends around me played, but also most of the kids in Korea played it. (I believe the game was named Starcraft: Brood War. The trend was sensational in Korea since most of the male teenagers, and even university students at that time played the game.) However, the playing was casual. I was just average among my friends, and did not show any special talents. However, things changed when I got into the end of my high school years. Pro leagues in Korea were getting tremendous attention from people. Playing game was considered a waste of time (it still is in Korea among adults.) to the 'authorities' before, and that mattered for me. However, after the internet easing the access of the materials of pro players who actually escalated the level of the games into a 'state-of-the-art' level, it pulled me strongly into the rhythm of flow. I would say I was interested in games for many reasons, but if I have to choose the main reason that I played games just like others, it would be peer-pressure to get along with friends. However, the reason that got me into a flow was viewing other talented players showing their insane skills of the game itself.

Just like my example, there would be a lot of reasons for many people who get their interest in something, and if lucky enough, getting into the flow for their own reasons. I would like to hear from others some reasons of how they got their interest in something, and how that interest (under what circumstance) got into 'the flow' itself. Your personal experience, as well as other examples you have heard would all be nice to talk about.

P.S. 1) I initially wanted to introduce the 'content theory', especially from 'Herzberg'. However, the amount of this blog post would get too big, and I gave up the idea to introduce the whole thing inside this post. I personally think it's worth reading at least once to get the grasp of how scholars view this type of topic in an academic way. The works are limited into workplace situations, but nonetheless I think it can be applied in various situations with a little twist of the contents. (Yes, that work will be more troublesome than your graduate thesis.)

P.S. 2) The 'chicken or egg' problem that Professor Arvan mentioned on 01232015, I am still thinking about it. I should have mentioned it on this post, but I'm having some serious thoughts about it. If I can come up to a conclusion of my own before the next meeting, I will be sure to share my thoughts with all of us.


  1. Let me see if I can generalize about your story of Starcraft: Brood War by guessing at one bit of it. At the time you got started with your casual interest, you could not have predicted the emergence of the pro leagues. So at the outset, the coming of the pro leagues would have to be viewed as something random, not something you could plan on from the get go.

    If that's right, then the story shows a few things:
    (a) The ability to take advantage of fortunate chance happenings requires being in the right spot at the right time (being prepared).
    (b) Much of what we do in that preparation phase we do for social reasons (so choosing your friends matters)
    (c) We are motivated by role models (the pro players) and their excellence. It can create aspirations for us.

    Now let me consider the topic of the post and ask: why was this what you wanted to write about - finding an interest? You were very adamant about the interest last for years, not just an hour or two. I would have preferred you to ask a different question, one about something much more short lived. What would then engage you in that brief time and draw you in. Further, and it is part of the investigation I'd like us to consider, what in you might make you more receptive to be drawn in?

    Then a remark about language use. I hope I never said the goal of the group is to make learning efficient. I don't know what making learning efficient means, though I do have quite a good grasp of economic efficiency. For me it suffices to make learning better. Might you make it better still after we're done? I hope so.

  2. Coincidently, the other day my friends were talking about games which called League of Legends(LOL). It is extremely popular and there actually is international competition every year. Actually I saw some of the videos online and was amazed by players' high-skills. It is just like a professional thing. For me I actually believe that game might be something that interest everyone (By that I refer game as a very general way). Every generation has their popular games, no matter the tradition ones like playing cards, chess, or video games which are more popular in younger generation. And the first motivation for people to be interested in is probably from the observation of excellent player. Then people would be willing to try. But there is one thing that makes people keep interest and enthusiasm--challenging. Like we've discussed last time, people in flow would experience the process of challenging themselves (or reaching out a little bit to see the limits). So when people are interested in something, if it is too easy, people would lose interest in a short time. And if it is too hard, then people would lose faith and give up as well. In oder to be in flow after getting interested in something, people's intellectual or physical state, as well as abilities are crucial determinants.
    I read through the content theory and found it interesting to me. Maybe we could discuss it in more details on Friday.
    Thanks for the posting.