Without interest in the world, a desire to be actively related to it, a person becomes isolated into himself. (Csikszentmihalyi 2002: 93.)
Csikszentmihalyi talks about the importance of having or developing an autotelic personality. This is a difficult one for me. On the one hand, I’ve always recognised the significance of being somehow self-sufficient in developing interest in the world around me. I admire people who devote themselves to varying causes or simply seem to care about what is going on with other people, in the world, in their area(s) of interest. On the other hand, my behaviour is mostly less than autonomous. I’m introverted, which may play some part in my finding it hard to engage fully with my environment. And yet I know I should, that being actively involved affects positively my level of happiness.
I’ll set myself a task. Every time I notice my mood dropping or that I’m overly occupied with myself, I must
- ask someone how they are or
- take note of anything in my immediate surroundings that has changed recently or that is simply pleasant to the eye or
- get up and find a position/location that I’ve never experienced before (e.g. how many times have you sat on the floor at work) or
- take other available measures to divert my attention away from myself.
Might work. Might happen that I completely forget about this exercise by tomorrow. Worth a shot, anyway.