What Makes A Life Worth Living?

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says we can achieve one of the most elusive needs — self-actualization — by finding a state of “flow” in our work or our hobbies.

About Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a leading researcher in positive psychology. He developed the notion of “flow” — the immersive moment when a person is completely involved in an activity for its own sake. Csikszentmihalyi teaches psychology and management at Claremont Graduate University, and he is the director the the Quality of Life Research Center there. He has written numerous books and papers about joy and fulfillment.

How Does Play Shape Our Development?

Dr. Stuart Brown says humor, games, roughhousing and fantasy are more than just fun. He came to this conclusion after conducting some somber research into the stark childhoods of murderers.

About Stuart Brown

Dr. Stuart Brown is the founder of the National Institute for Play in California. Brown came to study play after studying something much more somber: the lives of murderers. He found a common thread in their life stories: lack of play in childhood. Since then, he’s interviewed thousands of people to catalog their relationships with play, noting a strong correlation between playful activity and success. His book Play describes the impact that play can have on one’s life.

Psychological Disorders as Success Criteria in the Computing Industry

“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.”
       Ayn Rand. 1905-1982.

“Only the paranoid survive.”
       Andy Grove. 1936-2016.
“There was something very slightly odd about him, but it was hard to say what it was.”

       Douglas Adams. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
.. Over the past thirty five years, I’ve worked with thousands of smart and successful people in the computing industry. Now that I look back on it, I am amazed by what a large percentage of them exhsibited symptoms from one or other so-called psychological “disorders”, myself being the poster boy. When I talk about psychological disorders here, I’m referring to those listed in DSM 5: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the authoritative book on the topic according to the American Psychiatric Association. I’m intentionally using quotes for the word “disorder” because I plan to argue that these once abnormal tendencies are now commonplace, at least in certain professions, and should no longer be viewed as abnormal nor should they be stigmatized. The question is not whether many of us suffer from such traits but whether we are able to function as normal and successful members of society despite them.

One obvious example of such behavior is an addiction to and an obsession for extreme sports. I claim, based mostly on anecdotal data, that a statistically aberrant percentage of successful people in the computer industry obsess over sports of one kind or another. I don’t mean running a 5K or going for a weekend hike with the dog. I mean ultra-marathoners who routinely run a hundred miles or more, IronMan triathletes, bikers who do century rides every weekend, mountain climbers who train to climb Mt. Rainier, you name it. Several articles have recently been written on this topic, highlighting surges in kiteboarding, skydiving, sports car racing, mountaineering, and other similar extreme endeavours among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. These are all extremely busy people – most of them working sixty, eighty, a hundred hours a week. Yet, they also somehow find the time to spend 24 hours running non-stop up a mountain or to bike two hundred miles from Seattle to Portland “for fun” in a single day!
This is not normal. You cannot compete in an IronMan triathlon unless you obsess over your training. You cannot run a hundred miles in a single day unless you run the equivalent of a marathon (and more) every weekend. That takes time, it takes commitment, and it takes obsession
.. Studies have also shown that autism is linked to mathematical talent and that college students opting for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) degrees have a higher than normal incidence of autism in their families. And one of the symptoms of autism is an “intense interest in a limited number of things” – in other words, obsessive behavior. The prevalence of mild autism (Asperger’s Syndrome) has been documented widely in the industry with well known examples such as Bill Gates. He is one of the most intelligent men I’ve ever met, but, according to the book, he “suffers” from a psychological disorder.

Five major psychiatric diseases have overlapping patterns of genetic activity, new study shows

The study confirmed that genetic variations contributed to the patterns of activity in the brains, but as the authors wrote, “there is undoubtedly a contribution from environmental effects.”

.. The molecular signatures in the new study suggested that schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism have dysfunctional synapses, the points of contact between neurons where they exchange information. Brain support cells called microglia and astroglia had unusual patterns of activity in some of the disorders, as well.