This year has been one of my most productive years ever. I really feel like I am in the flow with every aspect of my life - my family, school, and business. Every day, I feel comfortably in the zone although I continue to stretch myself daily. In the book Emotional Intelligence, they discover that this ability to get into the flow is an essential element for long-term success.
The Zone is not an ability reserved only for sports pros. Individuals can reach the zone in work, at play, and at home. The Zone is when we work in total harmony with our surrounding. The Japanese call this harmony mushin.
This state of mind is attainable by everyone and we can learn it. The studies given in the book are very interesting. They show that entering the zone requires three basic elements.
First, they found that participant tended to enter the zone when challenged just beyond their typical limits. If the challenge was too far beyond or too far below, they were not able to reach the zone.
The second element is that the participants had an extreme focus on the goal. In other words, everything else melted away as they focused intently on the goal. Interesting! I guess this reiterates the importance of setting goals.
Finally, the research found that people entering the zone had relaxation response to the stress. In other words, the researcher observed that the participant’s heart rates, upon entering the zone, slowed as their performance increase, even in physical activities!
I see many of these elements coming together this year in my life. It’s the feel of everything going right. I consistent challenge myself in every area of life. A few years ago, I would never believe what I am capable of today. This year, I have more intently tracked my progress towards my written goals – keeping me more focused. And during it all, I feel more relaxed and balanced than I’ve ever been.