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The GoldenEye Principle: Flow, Dopamine, Spirituality and How to Make Everything As Fun as Video Games and Multiplayer Bedroom Sports

This entry is part of 26 in the series Timeboxing Trilogy

“The GoldenEye was a fictional electro-magnetic orbital weapon developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.” [GoldenEye (weapon) | James Bond Wiki | Fandom]

You don’t like sex or video-games quite as much as you think you do.
These activities are not that intrinsically interesting (obviously, they are a little bit).
What really makes them seem fun is the focus with which they are performed.
If you want to be happy, focus.

Now, you’re probably thinking: “Khatz, you’re a tanned basement weaboo, you’re no poonslayer”.
And you would be right.

But my lack of experience is made up for by the depth of the insights I’m about to drop on you.

Dopamine is designed to trick you into making things seem funner than they actually are.
Dopamine rewards anticipation, not action.
Ask Bob Sapolsky. He’ll fill you in. Tell you all about it.

  • [The Dopamine Seeking-Reward Loop | Psychology Today]
  • [Shopping, Dopamine, and Anticipation | Psychology Today]

Hijack the system and use it to enter flow instead.

You think you want pleasure.
What you actually want is a structure that can envelope you and allow you to engage in bounded self-abandonment.

Focus and clarity create flow, an almost complete state of self-abandonment.
Fun and happiness are directly proportional to time spent in the flow state.
You can induce flow more or less ex nihilo through total, unabashed, undiluted focus on a single, clear tactical goal.

Clarity, specificity, narrowness, doability, brevity. Sequences of winnable games. These are the ingredients of flow-inducing tactical goals.
Which is an overwrought way of saying: happiness.
It doesn’t mean you’re not also, say, hearing audio in your adopted language.
It means your focus is stable and singular.

The secret is this: always multiplex, never multitask.
Take input from multiple sources simultaneously, but give attention and output to one thing and only one thing at a time.
Focus on that one thing as if it were the most important thing in the Universe.

What about reading while watching TV? Isn’t that two things?
I mean, yeah, but no.
Depending on your constitution, it’s either
(1) just a special compound type of “one thing”, or
(2) two things, but with a rapid, binary, fun-driven, stable focus switch.

The point of focus, laserlike, like a GoldenEye EMP satellite, on a single thing, is not to take a puritanical stand on pleasure.
It’s actually super hedonistic. The idea is Promethean: stealing the fire of pleasure and spreading it throughout your life.

Just, pretend the GoldenEye system was more like SDI than it actually was.

Anything can be like video-games or multiplayer bedroom sports if you respect it enough to give it your undivided attention.

Focus. Timebox. Slay.

PS: Thích Nhất Hạnh has spent almost his entire career trying to teach this to noobs: focus induces happiness.

Eckhart Tolle is, like, a German, non-celibate Thích Nhất Hạnh.
Their teachings are only superficially “spiritual”.
They come down to attention management (OMG that sounds dry).
Both will teach you how to be happy and productive.

Series NavigationHow Zombie Gunship Taught Me All I Need to Know To Make My Real Life Awesome (And So Can You!): Gamifying Real Life For Fun and Profit and (Almost) For Free Using the Awesome New Technique of Randomized Timeboxing >>

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