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  1. #1
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    What is your thought-process like when you are fully concentrated?

    [Studying, Drawing, Practicing, Etc]

    The flow state has always interested me. It's unfortunate that any literature I read on it is always shrouded in 1970s hippie language and existential wonder. It would be nice to get an actual account of the experience one has when they are fully concentrated on something they're either interested in doing or something they had to do such as studying for a final. So I wanted to know and understand your process to compare it to mine as I feel that I'm not focusing enough.
    1.) What is going through your mind?
    2.) What do you do so that your focus doesn't break?
    3.) Do you really forget about the passage of time?


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  3. #2
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    1) Whatever is relevant to the task at hand. The point is that it all comes naturally, fluently. There's no 'thinking about the process' when you're in flow. The process just 'is'.
    2) It just doesn't. That's the definition of flow. You can't force yourself into flow or "keep" yourself in flow consciously, aside from really basic external stuff such as making sure that you're not interrupted etc.
    3) Again, that's the definition of flow. Without that aspect, we're not talking about the same cognitive experience.

  4. #3
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    Well, it can last for a session (5-8 hours) of doing something or over days, weeks, months (that's rare though) it's usually when the reward seems so reachable that you just can't stop working at it. When it's over a long period of time then that basically feels like no resistance to starting the next day, and the next day, and the next day, so no procrastination. However, when it's session-long, that means the resistance is there the next day.

    1) Nothing, you just want to keep working.
    2) Have to find a method/resource that is motivating and gets you more results than you expect (on this below*), which is not easy, though. No recipes.
    3) I guess.

    *I think it might have to do with this effect:

    Reward prediction errors consist of the differences between received and predicted rewards. They are crucial for basic forms of learning about rewards and make us strive for more rewards—an evolutionary beneficial trait. Most dopamine neurons in the midbrain of humans, monkeys, and rodents signal a reward prediction error; they are activated by more reward than predicted (positive prediction error), remain at baseline activity for fully predicted rewards, and show depressed activity with less reward than predicted (negative prediction error). The dopamine signal increases nonlinearly with reward value and codes formal economic utility. Drugs of addiction generate, hijack, and amplify the dopamine reward signal and induce exaggerated, uncontrolled dopamine effects on neuronal plasticity. The striatum, amygdala, and frontal cortex also show reward prediction error coding, but only in subpopulations of neurons. Thus, the important concept of reward prediction errors is implemented in neuronal hardware.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4826767/

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  6. #4
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    1 Depends what I trying to achieve as you can set rules for piece but look last paragraph
    2. Do something differently to keep it interesting
    3. That's just feedback you having fun.

    I think thought process can shape up style, like do you use flat tones, use line, do you emphasis 3d or 2d as art is about communication and that's why its important to learn language (foundations) first, then you can break rules. http://www.muddycolors.com/2018/05/a...with-your-art/ Well you could also think about how do you write way you do, you could probably do it differently and getting pretty much same things across
    Last edited by stonec; December 10th, 2018 at 01:01 PM.

  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemax View Post
    Well, it can last for a session (5-8 hours) of doing something or over days, weeks, months (that's rare though) it's usually when the reward seems so reachable that you just can't stop working at it. When it's over a long period of time then that basically feels like no resistance to starting the next day, and the next day, and the next day, so no procrastination. However, when it's session-long, that means the resistance is there the next day.

    1) Nothing, you just want to keep working.
    2) Have to find a method/resource that is motivating and gets you more results than you expect (on this below*), which is not easy, though. No recipes.
    3) I guess.

    *I think it might have to do with this effect:
    Very interesting read at the bottom there. While I realize you noted that this isn't easy, do you have any tips on motivating yourself and increasing the perceived rewards?

  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by awptisum View Post
    Very interesting read at the bottom there. While I realize you noted that this isn't easy, do you have any tips on motivating yourself and increasing the perceived rewards?
    Well, I basically answered what I know in 2). Find a resource/method/book that works well for you specifically, i.e. which gives a fast rate of improvement. No good universal advice unfortunately as people are different, you have to experiment.

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  10. #8
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    Pls?

  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemax View Post
    Find a resource/method/book that works well for you specifically, i.e. which gives a fast rate of improvement. No good universal advice unfortunately as people are different, you have to experiment.
    This was good enough. Thanks man!

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    1. Checklist of things to hit, design ascetics, where my line is going. etc.


    Work, work, work, squirrel.


    What is your thought-process like when you are fully concentrated?


    2. Chase the squirrel.
    Put on some music.
    Turn off the tv.
    Mute the phone.
    Just do.


    3. Time loss? Depends. Sometimes it's the Grays.
    My commentary is a gift to you.

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  14. #11
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    1
    I'm thinking about what I'm drawing, the line I'm putting down on paper and the one after that, I visualize the line before I put it down, so I try to draw with my brain
    2
    music is essential otherwise I'm gonna think about 100 different things, I always turn my phone off when I'm studying(this is hard), and waking up early is really important if I wake up late that day is useless
    3
    sometimes, music really helps me to forget about the passage of time

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  16. #12
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    What is your thought-process like when you are fully concentrated?
    That's how I look like when I'm deeply focused.

    Seriously though, my study focus differs a lot from my drawing focus. When I draw, it depends on what I'm currently working on, it's a constant shift in levels of attention, but overall never the same level as studying. Which means, there's some space left for thinking about other stuff at the same time, which is also why I can't see myself getting too deep into some sort of "zone".

  17. #13
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    Why do I get the feeling a term like "flow state" was coined in order to sell books telling people how to get there. . .

    1. Nothing
    2. Nothing
    3. Yes

    If I'm focused on something I'm not really going to remember if I was thinking about anything at all. Most of the time something I "have to do" is the surest path to not being able to concentrate on it. If I'm not getting the results I want or hope for then it means I'm not in the right frame of mind for that project and I should move on to something else, at least temporarily. If the stars have aligned, then I'll just keep working until I happen to glance at a clock and see it's 5 am or something.
    "No one escapes unhappiness."

  18. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by xtal View Post
    Why do I get the feeling a term like "flow state" was coined in order to sell books telling people how to get there. . .

    It certainly exists, there's no doubt about that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Benedikt View Post
    It certainly exists, there's no doubt about that.
    Oh, I'm not saying it doesn't exist, certainly. I'm just a bit of a cynic is all.
    "No one escapes unhappiness."

  20. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by xtal View Post
    Why do I get the feeling a term like "flow state" was coined in order to sell books telling people how to get there. . .

    1. Nothing
    2. Nothing
    3. Yes

    If I'm focused on something I'm not really going to remember if I was thinking about anything at all. Most of the time something I "have to do" is the surest path to not being able to concentrate on it. If I'm not getting the results I want or hope for then it means I'm not in the right frame of mind for that project and I should move on to something else, at least temporarily. If the stars have aligned, then I'll just keep working until I happen to glance at a clock and see it's 5 am or something.
    So you just rely on the circumstances of the project to govern your concentration?

  21. #17
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    Another question I have is what do you guys do when you get bored practicing your fundamentals for example? It's something you have to do but it gets to the point where the boredom is too much to bear. What do you do to get that extra bit of willpower to keep going?

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    Fundamentals should be explored with an intended purpose in mind, so eventually you take what was learned by doing them and apply that to the original works you want to make.

    edit: To answer the original question, I'm scatter brained and have a tendency to multitask while 'concentrating'.
    So while I'm tackling the creative task at hand, I'm also usually listening to media in the background, searching for references, and regretting that awkward thing I did half a life time ago. Sometimes the project I thought would take an hour only takes 5 mins, other times I end up working until pre-dawn bird chirping when I thought it was only a little after 1am.
    Last edited by InfernoKing; 4 Weeks Ago at 04:49 PM.

  23. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by awptisum View Post
    Another question I have is what do you guys do when you get bored practicing your fundamentals for example? It's something you have to do but it gets to the point where the boredom is too much to bear. What do you do to get that extra bit of willpower to keep going?
    You should do personal work as well so you know what you need to study

  24. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by awptisum View Post
    So you just rely on the circumstances of the project to govern your concentration?
    Not always. I find sometimes it's better to just let the work go where it wants to rather than break my concentration because things weren't going how I'd envisioned. Most of the time the piece turns out better than I'd expected. Or something that was meant to be just a study evolves into a full-fledged piece. Some projects require a lot of set-up to get off the ground (construction of props/sets/maquettes or research) so I tend have to work on directing my concentration and the attention span tends to be shorter. Not sure if any of that makes sense.
    "No one escapes unhappiness."

  25. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by awptisum View Post
    So you just rely on the circumstances of the project to govern your concentration?
    Concentration does not equal flow. You'll only get into a state of flow if you're intrinsically motivated to do whatever it is you're doing. That's not always the case when you're a professional. Can't wait for flow to happen, got to get the work done regardless.

  26. #22
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    This was on Forbes.com:
    Researchers describe flow as a unique state of concentration in which action seems to be effortless.
    The other articles I read described it much the same way. Something I found interesting was how they described that flow springs more readily from an achievable challenge; too hard and it's frustrating, too easy and it's boring. I suppose that can answer the other question, what to do when practicing fundamentals gets boring; make them more challenging but achievable.
    "No one escapes unhappiness."

  27. #23
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    Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has made a decades long study of the Flow State.

    Here is a distilled list of flow characteristics from Mihaly:

    "The 8 Characteristics of Flow

    Csikszentmihalyi describes 8 characteristics of flow here:

    Complete concentration on the task
    Clarity of goals and reward in mind and immediate feedback
    Transformation of time (speeding up/slowing down of time)
    The experience is intrinsically rewarding
    Effortlessness and ease
    There is a balance between challenge and skills
    Actions and awareness are merged, losing self-conscious rumination
    There is a feeling of control over the task."

    The most important experiences I have found over time that contribute quickly to flow are challenge, curiosity and maybe not knowing the exact outcome beforehand. I get bored and out of flow when things are too familiar and predictable.

    More here - https://positivepsychologyprogram.co...haracteristics

    Hope this isn't too "hippy" for you.

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