Being “in the zone” is a powerful tool for optimising our performance and life experience. But did you know you can choose your own zone?
It makes sense, really. If we have any ability at all to get into the zone – to keep focus, maintain confidence, access our best skills, push past our distractions and discouragements – and I have shown that people can do those things, we effectively choose our zone.
Consider the tennis player who is about to be beaten. They face the next point with leaden feet, heavy heart and weary limbs, already facing the emotion of their ultimate defeat. Imagine that just at that moment they think of something encouraging. They see their opponent looking unsteady on their feet, or the opponent serves two double faults. Or possibly they remember another occasion where they were in this situation and came up to win. Whatever happens, imagine that they start to access the thoughts and feelings of confidence. What happens to their play, their attitude, their emotions and mental focus? They have effectively chosen to be in a different internal zone than they were in previously.
That’s what I mean by “choose your own zone”. Any one of us at just about any time can change our zone. You don’t have to be in the mental frame of mind you are currently in. You don’t have to be in the performance mode you are currently in.
Employees struggling through their last hour at work, unmotivated, discouraged and focused on what is waiting for them after work, can change their zone and become highly effective, motivated and excited staff. It’s a matter of which zone they choose to be in.
We each have multiple zones we can choose to access at any time. For example, if I were to share with you a bunch of tragic stories I could move you toward a sorrowful mood and possibly get you to become totally absorbed by the emotions that evokes. Alternatively I could tell you jokes and get you laughing, lifting you into a different zone altogether. I could talk with you about how valuable your contribution is, building up your self-esteem and giving you warm fuzzy feelings. I could confront you with a difficult challenge which I assure you and convince you that you are specially capable of championing. I could also make you feel guilty about your inefficiency or other failings. Or I could stir up one or other of your personal skills – be it creativity, organisation, industry, analysis, communication, relating, or whatever.
All of those various zones are accessible from where you are right now. So you have multiple doorways leading out of your present state. And you have a large degree of control over which of those doorways you will go through.
Even if you don’t personally have the ability to push through some of those doors you may well know how to get through them. I recall female friends at high school who told me about the different songs they would play to move their mood. I have taught study skills, including how to set up an environment that is ideally conducive to diligent and focused study. I have listened to sermons which I knew would build my faith, including listening to sermons I have preached myself! A sleazy chap once boasted of how he took his girlfriend to a particular movie which got her in the mood for his immoral advances. So, we can all access external tools which help us change our internal gear, open an internal doorway and access different zones to the ones we are habitually drawn to.
And, believe it or not, that’s what people in the Bible actually did. So this whole rave about the ‘zone’ isn’t a motivational, success oriented study. It’s about helping you access some amazing spiritual realities which you probably miss much of the time. And, trust me, we’re getting there, one step at a time. So keep a watch for my next chance to rave about this important theme.