Balancing challenge, learning, fun, and reward in personal development

March 31, 2012 by Joshua
in Blog

I like to improve my life, but I don’t do it non-stop. Personal development usually requires challenging yourself (“going out of your comfort zone,” is the cliché), which can be hard.

So I alternate between challenging myself and relaxing. When I challenge myself I learn. When I relax I enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Here I plot my personal growth over time, schematically. I do it in stages, alternately challenging myself and resting.

Personal growth in stagesThe growth comes from challenging myself, so while my growth rises, my learning rate goes up. When I’m not growing I don’t learn as much from that activity.

Learning rate in stagesAlternately, while I’m not challenging myself I relax and enjoy myself, so when I’m not learning, I’m having fun. Here’s a plot of the fun I get from a given part of my life.

Fun rate in stagesThe total reward I get is roughly how much I learn plus how much fun I have, which ends up constant from a given part of my life.

Reward overallSo overall while I improve my life I alternate challenging myself (and learning) and relaxing (and having fun), keeping my overall reward constant.

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