Thursday, July 14, 2011

In the Zone

Do you ever feel that you are exactly in the right place at the right time? Do you ever feel “in the moment”, “in the game”, “in the flow”, “in a rhythm”…“in the present”? All of these phrases are different vernacular for the same mental state of being “In the Zone”. I define this mindset as a perfect moment of heightened awareness; a sense of deep connection to our surroundings, and being fully immersed with energized focus. In these precious moments of being “In the Zone”, one experiences an emotion that I can best describe as feeling joyful, lucky and blessed all at the same time. It is when we are so concentrated on the activity that we lose sense of time and become totally absorbed in experiencing the task before us.

Great athletes always aspire to be “In the Zone”. For them, it is the culmination of practice that suddenly appears effortless in a natural rhythm of movement. Talented musicians can experience a similar mental state. They merge, if not lose themselves into their music, intensely feeling the creation of sound, harmony, and connection to other musicians. Artists “In the Zone” become one with their medium and intuitively channel the flow of creativity in their expression and work.

Getting “In the Zone”, staying there as long as you can, and finding it over and over again (since we inevitably fall out of “The Zone”) may be one of the most challenging “Secrets of Life”. People who spend as little as 20% of their conscious lives “In the Zone” accomplish astonishingly more, are happier, healthier, generate positive energy and make a positive difference in the lives they touch. People who spend 50%, 60%, 70% or even 80% of their conscious lives “In the Zone” often change the worlds they live in. They are considered top in their fields of sports, education, religion, business, philanthropy, science and artistic creativity. They are the masters of their lives.

So….how do we get “In the Zone”? Frankly, I don’t really have an exact answer. I know I can’t force myself “In the Zone” or even predict when I will enter….it just happens. But I can speak to my state of mind when I am lucky enough to experience it. First, I am highly motivated and laser focused on the activity. Second, I am completely immersed and intrinsically motivated in the experience. For me, it helps to have a detailed goal that pushes me out of my comfort zone. I need a challenge that drives me with unyielding determination to accomplish the goal. If the task is too easy, I don’t get there... If the reward is only extrinsic, I don’t get there. If I don’t push my skills set and immerse myself in a new experience that absorbs me into the moment… I don’t get there. This is why my entire life I have been addicted to change and am in constant search of new, expanding life experiences. For me, being “In the Zone” is a lifelong passion.

Today, I am writing this blog on top of a mountain in Carmel, California… lost in time as the sun sets majestically over the Pacific in a breathtaking fire of reds, oranges and yellows. The air is perfumed with eucalyptus and jasmine, and the breeze is moist from the light fog coming in from the sea. I am in awe of the moment, surrounded and absorbed by the beauty of nature, yet challenged by how to clearly express this elusive “Secret of Life”….being “In the Zone”.