Psychological Self-Help

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other hand, certain extrinsically oriented students may need parent,
peer, and teacher evaluations, especially praise, but, at the same
time, see little connection between their efforts and their grades; thus,
average grades may be less threatening to their ego. Other
extrinsically motivated students are in a panic about their grades. We
are just beginning to explore these important areas. Life's joys are
largely intrinsic; lots of material things don't always make us happy.
Satisfaction is gained in different ways by different folks, and you can
change your way if you want to. 
(2) Intrinsic satisfaction in our work is critically important. We
spend 40 years at work--almost 100,000 hours. Csikszentmihalyi
(1990) describes a welder in Chicago who was the "master mechanic"
in his shop. Yet, he refused promotions to management; he didn't
want to be "the boss." Joe worked in the same shop for over 30 years;
he knew every piece of equipment and was fascinated with how it
worked. When there was a problem, Joe could fix it. Most surprisingly,
he loved his work; he enjoyed any job assigned to him; each job was
an interesting challenge. After work, Joe didn't go to a bar with
buddies to "forget about work," he went home and worked in a
beautiful garden. With this attitude, it isn't surprising that Joe was
liked and admired by everyone. Csikszentmihalyi calls this "flow"--
fascination, concentration, and contentment with the task at hand.
What a gift! Over 2000 years ago, the Chinese called it "Yu"--the
proper way to live, without concern for external rewards, with joy and
total commitment. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all "flow" most
of the time? The recipe for flow isn't figured out for sure yet--too
complex (see chapter 14, however). But a few lucky people figure it
out for themselves. I found it right here writing to you. It involves a
positive attitude. 
Unconscious motives and payoffs 
If, as we have seen, we are unaware of motives, payoffs, and
blocks in our behavior, naturally we won't understand ourselves, not
entirely. Chapter 15 will deal with unconscious processes in great
detail, but here let's clarify the notion of the unconscious. There are
probably thousands of neural processes constantly going on in our
heads. Our brain is not built in such a way that we know about most of
these processes; we are only aware of the final product. Examples: We
remember our high school but we don't know the process by which the
brain remembers it. We get jealous but we don't know the mental-
emotional process that generates the feeling. We come up with a good
idea but we don't know the process by which the idea was created, it
just occurred to us. Thus, this is one kind of unconscious--necessary
mental processing you have no natural means of knowing about. 
Another kind of unconscious, sometimes called "preconscious," is
when you do something automatically, without thinking. We brush all
our teeth without thinking about each detail. We walk, dress, eat,
smile, and even ride a bike or drive a car without much conscious
thought. We could tune into these events and some of the thought
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