Self Experimentation

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Project Infobox Question-icon.png
Self researcher(s) Mariusz Nowostawski
Related tools Journal
Related topics Social life and social media

Builds on project(s)
Has inspired Projects (0)
Show and Tell Talk Infobox
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Date 2013/05/11
Event name 2013 QS Europe Conference
Slides Self-experimentation.pdf
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Self Experimentation is a Show & Tell talk by Mariusz Nowostawski that has been imported from the Quantified Self Show & Tell library.The talk was given on 2013/05/11 and is about Social life and social media.

Description[edit | edit source]

A description of this project as introduced by Quantified Self follows:

Mariusz works in a multi-disciplinary research group at the University of Otago. In this talk, he shares why he's life logging and what benefits he has received from it.

Video and transcript[edit | edit source]

A transcript of this talk is below:

Welcome, it’s my first time on the Quantified Self conference. My name is Mariusz, I’m one of those people who never participated in any of those events or meet ups, from a country which doesn’t have a market, New Zealand. So maybe we’ll just start.

I already feel [inaudible] because I can sort of relate to everything that I’ve seen so far, or heard. So thanks so far for being here. I work in a multidisciplinary research group at the University of Otago we do work on (mobile and computing?) like most of you guys. We do a little bit of work with Parkinson’s disease with tremor tracking and activity tracking so that this my work background. The stuff I want to talk today is more of the fun background which I do outside of work, and those worlds collide a little bit. So I wanted to tell you why I’m doing life logging, and what I have done in the last few years, and what sort of interest me and what I get out of it. So the main reason why I started was curiosity, so being a researcher and being a lifelong there is probably the main driver for it. So I was very curious of what meditation and high-speed motor racing have in common, so I both and I feel they have something in common, but I couldn’t communicate that to other people, to my wife or to other people doing that. Then if I am in a group of people who have those experiences it’s sort of easy to communicate. So I was on my first motorcycle racing with a friend, and after 10 minutes of racing you are really high and your hands are shaking and I come to my friend and he asked me how was it. And I say well it wasn’t great and he said I know exactly what you mean. So I was unable to communicate those feelings and events, well enough and it push me to try and quantify it better. I heard about the Quantified movement when I was on my own early on a little bit, so I was trying to measure some acceleration and so on. But the second thing that sort of made me curious was the more I learned about the data, the more numbers I had and the less satisfied I was with what I was learning. So for example, when you practice for running events you track your workout and track your pace and things like that, but the more numbers you have, the more motivated you have to gain to work the system to work with those numbers and not with the experience. That’s the second aspect of what I’m curious about is how Quantify Self analytics and numbers influence in the way we actually experience the events and life as such. The third thing is when I was doing this I had this sort of epiphany, that I’m not really doing things because who I am and I’m not you know, not running because I’m a runner; I ran and then become a runner. So doing life logging sort of taught me that I can learn a little bit more about myself, because certain things I don’t know that I do. So one thing I asked myself and my a good dad. For example, how much time do I spend with my kids. And I thought of course I’m a good dad, I spend a lot of time with my kids and I spend you know, not that much time working. I’ve forgotten that that was completely broken perspective and I actually spend a lot of time working and very little time with my kids. So in that context getting the numbers up in my face was a good thing. So those three things of learning who I am through life logging, and trying to explore the perceptions I had about the experiences and the actual experiences themselves. Then the way I can sort of communicate those experiences to others. So doing some extreme things like motorcycle racing or scuba-diving, or paragliding, or long distance running some people think it’s (absolutely fine? 05:08), but it’s not really. It’s more about being in full control of your whole body and your mind, and being sought of losing myself. When you do those events you have to you control so many little things, so quickly that you stop being rational and you stop being a rational person. You really run with the feeling and activity that you are doing, and this sort of quality is really difficult scientifically to explain the sort of feeling of oneness with the activity that you are doing. There is some research on that, there is research in being in the zone, and I’m trying to combined that with the tracking and the life logging, and this is the experience that interests me the most. It’s this unity with the experience that you are doing and the sense of not being there, and the sense of not being yourself. It requires a lot of preparation and a lot of training and conditioning, and then when it actually happens. It sort of happens to be the best feeling that you can have. So I’ve prepared a couple of slides to show you the things that I’ve done, but there isn’t much time in the seven minutes, so I will skip it. I will tell you about one particular thing in motorcycle racing when you have to control the hard turn at the end of the straight. So there is a lot of elements you have to control, and one of the elements that you have to control is called late breaking. So you have to wait as long as you can and then start braking hard towards the end of the straight, so then you gain precious meters ahead of the other people and you go into a straight. When I started that, there are so many things you have to control and it is sort of unbearable to work with that. But as you condition yourself, your brain starts working faster and faster, and certainly you are amazed of how fast you can process all the information that is bombarding you. So, I’m going to pass that one unfortunately, and my time is up, so when I have that conversation later after the race with my wife, and I repeated the same thing and remember my friend said I know exactly what you mean, my wife said yes, I don’t know what you mean. You know, explain to me how was it and I tried to balance the numbers in some ways of conveying some of those feelings and experiences to her.


About the presenter[edit | edit source]

Mariusz Nowostawski gave this talk.