Episode 54- Transcript – Zane Claes


Episode 54 – Zane Claes

Will healing experience will will will and humane handling brain hemispheres at entertaining and mentally invented telling me right now is an excellent frontotemporal occipital I am in the form is the authentic take you to the interest I think easily the human experiences in session my guest tonight is Mr. Zane flees the scene welcome to Atrix be thank you very much glad to be here so Zane am coming your book is called the joy of crafts can you just walk us through a little bit of your background how you got to writing this book sure I studied videogame design and little bit of neuroscience in college because I was very interested in attempting to socially bring entertainment and education together and really create products that is that me and the students joyful experience for people but, more and more I worked on these things the more I enjoy the process rather than the outcome I wasn’t so concerned with how many people downloaded overplayed my games are used my software but I really enjoyed actually building them and even one person was enough to make it worthwhile for me and I was really fascinated by that concept why was that process so interesting it’s available for me and Esther Derby into the psychology and neuroscience of how that works what the what the scientists tell us about how we engage the art of creativity to craftsmanship behind building things and found that ultimately a focus on outcome is some of detrimental to the process itself paradoxically actually hurts the results It seems like a really wise standpoint to kind of approach your your career and what you’re doing to mean videogames are often viewed as kind of time wasters by mainstream media you you developed a game called re-creating called forever amazing which is designed to help people battle depression, Iquitos about fermis and how you feel it it counteracts depression sure it’s just one of many different little experiments I do with videogame design for social good I mostly focused on games around learning purposes little bit into a different realm as you said it’s about battling depression I somewhat the idea from Jane McGonigal’s work who was written books like reality is broken and she’s talked about this sort of using video games for unexpected bands unusual ways of improving makes human experience so there’s lots of different examples that we studied in my University USC of for example the US government using games to help soldiers some that are going to were coming back from the battlefield such as with PTSD and things of that nature right but there’s there’s many different ways that you can apply videogames to elicit response responses and people are kind of go deeper than any sort of explicit training program so fermis while not I wasn’t trying to create any sort of clinical treatment for good for depression but rather can create an allegory for what feels like to be depressed having no met friends and the people who have gone through that experience in the game you are in this endless world where each of the four titles in the world are in a motion they are down they deform amaze and as you explored have to keep these four emotions and balance and you’re being chased by depression at the same time the antagonist your objection or touch the objective I should say is to reach one of your friends so your friends who play the game were actually scattered around the map and when you reach one of them you progress to the next level so the whole interest essentially a note the notion of building a branch bridge to your friends through the emotions that you haven’t been keeping them in shock keeping an eye on them as we know that when you have a mind for your emotional state mindfulness as we would say right that you are able to essentially keep them them balanced are able to to help your emotional state cats fascinating coming there’s a decision aspect of forever maze where you kind of show the benefit of social community in this way by finding your friends how how did you use this came to rely on community will very fascinated by the notion of communities in games in general I started myself playing online games like MMORPGs the predecessors to World of Warcraft in my youth and I found them to be really changed the direction of my life in very positive way I found her to be community waiting for me in this online world that brought me out of my shell as a rather introverted young child and ultimately helped me developed into a much more socially aware socially adept person medicine adult and fermis this business of a small experiment into this and it’s not that the Lord which world that would see in an MMORPG but it’s trying to tap into that same idea of using games and using the online space to make you realize that there are other people out there and get you out of the room if only in a projected way intriguing one of the elements it seems to cross over from your games to your book joy of craft is the need for people to enjoy what they are spending their time doing rather than being solely focused on achievement I guess enjoying the journey in the process and in your book you talk about hedonic treadmill how I mean how does that affect the way you see modern society and indicate find hedonic treadmill forest please sure you hedonic treadmill is you might think of it as keeping up with the Joneses it’s this psychological experience that a lot of us have of wanting something more will than what we get whenever you get something you want the next thing in the next thing in the next think there’s never an end to it you get that fast car and you want a faster car get whenever you get never actually satisfies you and what fascinates me to is that there’s a interesting parallel here with videogames where some of the worst are games I would say have what players call a level treadmill the ground where you just do the same thing over and over and over and sure you love love you get further but ultimately those games are unsatisfied and that’s what the crossover taught me from video games to real life is that you money get completely wrapped up in this process at the moment my feel good to get the next level to get the next car to get the next paycheck but ultimately you are just an early look for the next one in the next one and if you if you keep thinking that the next one is going to solve your problems if you believe that there’s some answer that exists beyond the horizon and if you don’t stop to actually enjoy where at dinner never actually going to be satisfied yeah I find that so important I mean even for myself like my my own ego those like him what the next guess the next guess with the next thing for me so yeah I appreciate the you cover that in your book through the first part of your book talks about motivation and why science comes in we do what we do they what what you found are the processes in the brain that are going on when someone is enjoying activity versus not there’s a lot of talk of implicit or internal versus external motivation this notion that you know your you’re motivated by something that you find it certainly enjoyable or motivated by some extrinsic factor like money towards now it’s pretty easy to create a your wine; internal motivations good external motivations bad but that’s our initial reaction but once you start diving deeper into it you start realizing that it’s not white that clear-cut so that study that actually open the book with this one of my favorites about the process of drawing what the study does is to start by having children just drop and socially see now long to do it and how much they enjoyed it and then in the other groups of the study they actually start introducing rewards so might give chocolate to that child for drawing again this doesn’t seem to change much like chocolate great triple chocolate you draw the ability to enjoy snow we got the implicit order the intrinsic reward of enjoying drawing and the extrinsic reward of the chocolate but here’s where it gets interesting if you tell the person how much extrinsic reward you’re going to give them before then they actually end up drawing for shorter periods of time and producing worse work as judged by you external judges so… Some people with the same enjoyable processing it once you start conflating those two went to start mixing the internal and external then you end up in this weird state where it seems to attract from the overall process and now that stuck with me when I read that study does kind of the genesis of the book there was you know if how can you enjoy something if the very act of being monetarily or extrinsically reward from it starts to not detract from your intrinsic enjoyment is what I tried to get the heart of the book yeah I mean it’s it’s amazing that you are kind of touching on this and this is the first book the Briton Ryan it is yeah it’s it’s amazing that you going who would you say are your influences of having how did you how did you get to writing a book like this 00 I’ve always wanted to to write a book it’s been I’ve written many US this is the first book I’ve written is the first book that I highly qualified to show the world you at every every office got a few of them at least a few sit in a shelf somewhere that hopefully will never see the light of day correct but that that said unite I certainly appreciated the style of milk and Gladwell for example simply because he was able to bring science to the masses and I really appreciate that because I I love science I love the fact that until so much about the world but frequently it’s daunting to people and all of these studies are no not not something people are in a dive into so I want to mimic the that that’s style that he had and that’s and the other writers not genre as well as folks like gum conmen data rarely that behavioral economics economics folks at all just can delve into the these stranger aspects of psychology and show you how they might be used to improve the quality of life so the book has been like 200 citations and it from a wide variety of different sources by I tried to keep it very readable very keep the flow moving in knots not linger on any particular your science except as to say yeah there’s data to support this right Antonini you really G really talk about money in this book and how happiness is not the possession of money what’s let’s get into chocolate that low ketamine that what would you do got $1 million criteria office space? That so I think that if you seen the movie office space nor any any guidance counselor really best that American high school you for me I realized that the answer to that question is that I would just keep the Olympics I might be out and I might approach it slightly differently how might live some what’s somewhere slightly more exotic than I do but I would very much just keep building the things I’m interested in building namely video games and software that’s are meant to impact social good and keep writing as well now I mean what you what you think it’s up so important that we separate this sort of end result which is money which is what everyone seems to focus on versus what the person is doing and how the quality what they’re doing there’s one study that I find pretty interesting that some readers in their some listeners may have heard of it’s about lotteries in one the key findings of this study just to summarize very briefly is that year after winning the library most people’s happiness returns to a baseline level about the same point that they were at before winning lottery so that seems to say to me is that money is something of a multiplier it might know it might make you go someplace faster my digital resources to get their is nothing more than a resource it doesn’t change your internal emotional state so if you think the money has something that is actually going to impact there have any sort of change on your internal state then you really ascribing valleys to that it doesn’t have you have to you have to change that yourself and money you send the money is an evil thing effect there is that know that quotation about money being the root of all evil well that’s actually a partial quotation it’s the pursuit of money to the exclusion of all else is the root of all so it’s not the fact that money is something that is by itself intrinsically bad it simply the fact that it’s a cool it’s something that we can use to get somewhere and is long as you respected for that value that it does have but don’t give it powers are in inflated with something that can’t do brain and it’s still useful and how important do you think time management has to all this and it seems like discipline is a really huge thing for you so to me time management tricks that you can share with us yeah I I certainly I would certainly true that statement that I’m very much a discipline are regimented person my friends what would say as much as well what? The firstdon’t get too stressed about it that’s actually something I struggle with is, fighting opposite the specter might be so obsessed with doing things didn’t pushing things that I have to remind myself the slowdowns know stop and smell the roses sometimes but you your yes for tips and tricks so I think that simply having routine is a really good start knowing the things that make you happy not things that other people telling make you happy the things that you actually genuinely enjoy I think of things like on your going up the bar getting drunk stuff like that ends if for some people’s maybe enjoyable but for a lot of us a drink with friends is pleasant seven drinks and waking up on over is really not a very pleasant experience so you can if you can keep your eye on the big picture there and and think about your what is it that ultimately wants then it becomes much easier to you to keep yourself focused on the things that really do make you happy and I think it you have to acknowledge first that a lot of times what other people think it will explicitly tell you this will make you happy but society kind of implies to us that are supposed to be out drinking you’re supposed to be doing these things that it’s okay to say that that’s not what you want it’s okay to pursue something different in your life and’s note on certainly attack on other things like meditation and exercise the so much science to back up all of these different practices and support the notion that they can actually just improve your overall quality of life in the adrenaline endorphins from exercise can actually that give you more energy throughout the day, paradoxically despite the fact that it seems like exercise where you out or meditation this is I like to think of it like a weight training for your brain it’s a mental my Cipro to help improve your focus and improve perhaps other things to like empathy your happiness so that all these things can just contribute to an overall more enjoyable life yeah man in connection leads into my next question is can ask you there’s a part in your book which is an intrinsic part I thought in your book which was how the reader can kind of adjust course in direct themselves to a more more joyful life you explain this by a way of a number of character archetypes and various virtues and vices that a person might have the characters might have what are some of these archetypes and was the sort of poor message that you’re trying to get across in the section the book Sherry be the first applicable is much more analytical much more scientific but as you point out the second half is each chapter is an archetype of some some persona so what I’m trying to do there was understand the different approaches that different people take towards life or the different directions that the world can lead us and can put myself in the shoes of that sort of person so one that comes to mind is the rock star it’s one of the archetypes in the book and I once I thought about it like what I really wanted to be a child start like a young child actor or a someone who had that sort early success very early on and the more he thought about one answer was no because it creates the sky distorted sense of the world when you’re very first attempt at anything was a wild success to how do you know anything you do after that is good like everybody can be sycophant you know what you like I I had to sit down if muscle possible I want that no so that that’s kind of what I do go through each of these character types mean I also look at the like the scientists that’s one religion here is one that I personally relate with a locking computer programmer myself and the others there’s a certain virtue and a certain feisty each of these engineers very analytical but sometimes exceedingly so sometimes to the exclusion of some of the more human and beautiful site the world you talk about the pursuit of novel experiences at the heart of living in enjoyable life and you talk a lot about sort of novelty and I mean it you do this on your blog and why why do you think that this type of learning is so important why is it so significant to learn in this way on it on euro scientific level short hassle neuroscience has the tell us about learning is that there’s when you practice the introduction of novel stimuli is extraordinarily important know the reason for this is that imagine that you were different memories are like say different cities and you are a planner of highways know one approach to connect the different cities would be to build one highway from CA to be the city be another highway from city to city see and one connection between each like that in our work people be able to get between every second however your be constrained by each of those roads and you have to keep the people in bigger and bigger roads by if you want to get from city see that the city a is kind of difficult like you imagine of the three of them are the triangle of the much easier if you just had a road from city seem to city day so imagine now that each of those cities are neurons in your brain each of those neurons represent of memory so the point being that the more connections there are in different directions from the different ideas to each other easier it is to get from any one place to another about a simplified way of thinking about it but the point is that in learning theory we talk a lot about transfer which is the ability to take your learning from the context in which you learned into another context well the more tightly bound with your learning is to the context mainly by only studying in one way over and over and over and over again the harder it is to transfer outside because those that is not a rich assortment of different connections to your kind of tied to that’s Norio in which you learned it you can only apply the formula in a very if were talking about math wrote sort of plug-and-play approach as opposed to learning the underlying theory in understanding the basis of the formula in which case you can use it in in any which way you can you can read the riot on the fly you can apply to scenarios that you wouldn’t have considered before because you understand I’m much deeper and more well-connected way past to mastery seems like stress long arduous lifetime kind of achievement award for road me to live when I found your book I picked seem like such a relief kind of reading it as opposed to innocently of the books that I that I’ve read but is there is research specific one thing that you would kind of relate to the people listening are some your readers summit you use that has benefited you thank you very much for that I appreciate saying that it’s the one take away for the book for me is that there’s wisdom in that statement that the you have the journey is more important than the destination but the way you approach that is going to be different for every person and what that means is that each of our roads throughout life or can vary wildly and you can’t use somebody else’s path is your is your signposts like you can’t compare yourself to another person and say that is what’s good and that is that the only person you can compare yourself to his yourself and it is if you’re doing that not may self-critical not in a you I need to push muscle harder faster stronger sort of way but just in a note in my being honest in my being true to my own experience my doing the things that make the world’s what I wanted to be an is is on slopes want to be honest about then who’s anybody else to say what your life is good about And so important to kind of self-actualized all this and you’ve you’ve online you have a skill cookbook you can you tell us about that end kind of how you how you curated the idea for the church so scope codebook started as a blog about different learning theories up as I mentioned I studied video games and also little bit of neuroscience and collagen I started by wanting to create educational video games and when I started getting deeper and deeper into that research I found that I started exploring different products that were out there different learning software different approaches that other companies had taken and I I wasn’t ready to go start my own company that was going to your cradle learning game just yet but is really interested in sharing what I found with other people good strategies for learning new things so it touches on everything from the science of learning to product reviews of different software games and apps that might help people learn anything from the guitar to periodic table really anything that you might want to memorize or internalize having just a touch back on the book here how important to think failure is to the process of learning and growing failures one of those words that all of a sudden in Silicon Valley at least are young in the difference a lexicon here it’s it’s getting a lot of press and people talk about the need to fail and failing fast and lean startup and alternatives like that these are old certainly very importance but I think something kind gets lost in the message which is that in failure it’s not about feeling for the sake of failure it’s about finding the boundaries about conducting experiments and learning know where where the point of breakages or what you can or cannot do and to that ends know it anything that you want to get better at needs to be defined by what you cannot get do so if you if you push yourself to that point and you fail been you learn what you need to improve their but if you just you just fails it will look unhappy because I fail that’s the nonproductive experience has to be in service of understanding where you’re trying to go while it’s a mutual important and I really do recommend this book the joy of craft zine I really appreciate your time and working people find your work thank you very much of the joy crafters@thejoyofcraft.com and of course the bloggers skill cookbook learns all my stuff is over in zany.com I and the a and I.com awesome I really appreciate time and thank you so much for being here thank you

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