Self-Regulation Theory: How Optimal Adjustment Maximizes Gain

By Dennis E. Mithaug | Go to book overview

Chapter 7
Self-Determined Gain

Although all humans self-regulate, not all do so with equal success. Some regulate needs and behaviors to survive from one moment to the next; others self-regulate to maximize gain toward long-term goals. Those who maximize control their destinies by deciding what they want and then selecting the optimal route for getting it. They are happy, fulfilled, self-determined gainers who know how to achieve optimal experience from maximum pursuits. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi described their experiences in Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience:

Contrary to what we usually believe . . . the best moments in our lives . . . are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times--although such experiences can also be enjoyable, if we have worked hard to attain them. The best moments usually occur when a person's body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience is thus something that we make happen. For a child, it could be placing with trembling fingers the last block on a tower she has built, higher than any she has built so far; for a swimmer, it could be trying to beat his own record; for a violinist, mastering an intricate musical passage. For each person there are thousands of opportunities, challenges to expand ourselves. 1

Optimal experience is a byproduct of transforming suboptimal conditions into optimal opportunities. Writer May Sarton discovered it in writing poetry: "I'm absolutely alone then and I'm in a state of great intensity of feeling and intellect. I'm perfectly balanced and nothing else exists. Time doesn't exist."2 Composer Burt Bacharach found it in writing music: "The music is hard, but I like going back to the room and writing. I'm happy because I push myself into a discipline. I get into a groove where I'm playing the piano and melodies start to flow and I'm happy."3 And futurist writer John Naisbitt found it while fulfilling his

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Self-Regulation Theory: How Optimal Adjustment Maximizes Gain
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures and Tables ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Notes xv
  • Chapter 1 - The Problem of Adaptation 1
  • Notes 16
  • Chapter 2 the Nature of Problem Solving 19
  • Notes 40
  • Chapter 3 - The Theory of Self-Regulation 43
  • Notes 61
  • Chapter 4 - Self-Regulated Thinking 63
  • Notes 81
  • Chapter 5 - Self-Regulated Doing 85
  • Notes 116
  • Chapter 6 - Maximum Gain 119
  • Notes 146
  • Chapter 7 - Self-Determined Gain 149
  • Notes 178
  • Chapter 8 - Innovative Gain 183
  • Conclusion 205
  • Appendix 209
  • Bibliography 213
  • Index 223
  • About the Author 235
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