In the Zone: Where It Happens
Being in the zone… remember the thrill of being fully engaged in something that intrigues and enlivens you, sparks your creativity and problem-solving?
After the thrill is over, we come back to everyday routines and maintenance, and if our life is relatively in order (for the moment), we are happy and content.
But lifting yourself into the zone is part of a joyous life, the place where so much is unknown, exciting and possible. Here are four fun ways to get there:
1. Dream and live your dream.
There is a magic in thinking big. You may have a dream of a better world: social justice, racial and sexual equality, a protected environment and more. To find a way to contribute, consider your talents, skills and interests. Therein lies the key to making a difference.
One lady we coached wanted a world that had a more functional medical system. This inspired her to pursue energy work to follow her heart and make the world a healthier place.
2. Enjoy life by counting your blessings and blessing others.
Your dream might be big, or maybe not. Perhaps it’s about being a good person, being kind and doing the right thing. David Brooks wrote in his New York Times column in May 29,2015 about “The Small, Happy Life” that many people may be changing the world in ways that may go unnoticed.
Acting kind and doing the right thing makes you feel good, a wonderful zone of love and benevolence. This small happy life might be experienced by…
* contributing with time or money to the needy or environmental causes
* going out of your way to help someone who needs it, be it a friend, child or pet
* doing community work or volunteering
Remember to give and be kind to yourself as well.
I recently asked the young owner-manager of our favorite little local Mexican restaurant why he was always smiling and so happy. His response was revealing.
“I see beauty everywhere, in people and the environment.. Growing up in Mexico, we didn’t have a running toilet and often even were short on food. I’m thankful now for so many things.”
3. Engage fully in your interests.
We may have many interests, but it’s wise to pick the uplifting ones you can do now, and engage fully. Whether it’s an artistic pursuit, a healing session, or a problem to solve, you get into the flow, a state explored by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi:
* In the flow, you are in the moment where the experience is its own reward.
* You feel co-creative with the experience and feel like you can succeed.
* You are stretched but not overwhelmed.
* Time stands still as you are one with your experience and what you are doing.
A key here for full engagement is to look for details, patiently delving into the particulars.
Finding details generates wisdom and genius, as you are better able to connect the part with the whole.
4. Deliberate Practice.
Researcher K. Anders Ericsson found that top performers in certain fields had something in common. He called it deliberate practice, which means your practice is intentionally done to improve your performance.
You make adjustments in your tennis stroke, play the notes just right, have extra strength conditioning, improve the many technical and writing skills to be a good blogger, etc.
Deliberate practice can take a lot of time and sometimes sacrifice, and it needs to be done out of love and devotion, which puts you in the zone.
By the way, having a coach to point out the specific feedback may be a necessary part of becoming an exceptional performer.
As a note, Ericsson connected deliberate practice with certain fields that have core competencies, such as memory training, athletics, music and chess.
Other fields might need not only deliberate practice, but more intuition and artistry, yet still you need a level of commitment and focus that might not be altogether quantifiable.
Knowing how to get into the zone elevates your experience and the quality of your life. Yes, be happy, but also find ways to be joyously excited.
With your dream, blessings, passionate interests and deliberate practice, life is good — and so much more is possible.