Autotelic – Have you read about it before?

Flow, Focus, Human Brain, Thinking

This is a new word I read about recently. It came about in the book The Art of Impossible by Steven Kotler. Today was the third time I read this word. The first two times also I read it in this book itself, but didn’t quite get it.

For those of you who read my blogs regularly, first of all thanks for doing so, you would have noticed that I like to see the nuances between words, the way they are used by different authors.

This word was however unique. Its kind of tongue twisting, but its a little scientific in nature so can be excused.

So coming back to the book where I read this word. This word has been used in context to getting into a “flow” state where the activity is its own reward. As Steven says – “the thing we are doing is so pleasurable and meaningful, that we will go to great lengths to do it……”

I have written earlier how just before I start to write I have a big lock on what I will write today. And then I put my hands to the keyboard on my tablet or computer and then just start typing. Soon I get into the flow and create something. Sometimes there are portions of topics, which may have been written by me earlier also but generally most of the content written everyday is fresh.

The key is that 1) when I start writing – I kind of forget about what’s happening outside, 2) after finishing my post I feel a deep sense of achievement. Now I am not an author – at least not yet. But writing helps me recover from the stresses of the day and feel rejuvenated.

So this word kind of resonated with me. I went and searched out for it on the internet. As per the “meriam-webster” “autotelic,” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/autotelic. Accessed 7/31/2021. dictionary it is an adjective – meaning having a purpose in and not apart form itself. with its first known use in 1900. Which means its not a very old word even though it has its oringins in the Greek language.

As per Steven, Autotelic is one of the six core psychological characteristics and if all six show up, we call the experience “flow”. In the flow state time just passes, without you thinking about it. While I don’t always reach flow state as the author talks about while writing, it does help me concentrate to what I am doing at the moment without thinking about the past or future , without getting judgemental about what I am writing, and helps me put thoughts in a matter of minutes.

Let me know in which situations you get into a flow state.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

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