Science of Emotions

                The professional goal of any person is to reach his/her highest human potential and to have top performances in his/her field, to reach excellence. Probably, most people are convinced that this requires a high amount of energy, stressful moments and pain. In contrast with this, some of the top athletes associate their peak performances with states of joy, in which apparently without too much effort, they are able to achieve outstanding results. Of course, if one has to choose between two such ways to achieve excellence, everyone would prefer the second option, due to its associated joy and pleasure. But does such an approach really exist? If yes, it has a scientific base? Surprisingly for me, I found out that the answers to both questions is “YES”.

                At a personal level, all of us have some favorite activities, in which, at least sometimes, we perform relatively well. Because we like them, even if they require some mental or physical  effort, overall we have the feeling of joy and pleasure. For me, such activities are research, teaching, football playing, swimming. During such preferred courses of action, some times, we experience some special states, in which our performances are even higher than what we ever expected. Scientifically, these can be named states of “flow”. As a physicist I would call them moments of “resonance” but as an intentionally naïve person I like to use the term “magic”. For example, in science one can imagine the states of magic as moments/minutes of intense inspiration when new ideas and solutions are flowing through our mind. Such states are hard to reach and easy to lose, but offer incommensurable satisfaction.

                It is wonderful to live such special moments, even if it is just by chance. But just try to imagine how nice would be for a person to learn how to reach such states of magic! This can be learned, at least partially, from an excellent book entitled “Emotional Intelligence”, by Daniel Goleman (please see  the links below). From the book one can learn at least two things:

· to master the technique of entering flow/magic

· an education model which should be considered by any professor.

        Enjoy the magic texts about Flow and A new Model for Education