You have heard of it and most likely you have experienced being “In the Zone” at one point or another. The question most ask is "why can't I get it?" The quick answer is because you may be focusing on not having it instead of being open to allowing it to happen. Athletes, after having a great performance, express this euphoria as an incredible amount of focus.
Being “In the Zone” has been noted as:
- time standing still
- performance seems effortless
- The development of tunnel vision
- The environment became quiet
So how do you get “In the Zone”?
It starts with confidence in that you are prepared for what you are about to do. When our confidence is low, we tend to use more of the prefrontal cortex (the CEO of the brain) to tell our body what to do and question every action we are performing. This causes our muscles to become rigid and lack fluidity. Being in the zone come from automation of our actions. Automation is presented by our subconscious and our subconscious is trained by process goals. So, from this statement you can understand the important of focusing on process goals (development of proper technique and mastery skills).
Research from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi also adds the following as improving your chances of getting “In the Zone”.
- Your achievement is internally driven instead of seeing external rewards
- Goals are clearly defined and understood, you know exactly what is required of you to reach these goals.
- Becoming completely consumed by the race
- A strong focus on your target, not the people beside you , in front of your or behind you.
- Feeling of control as if you can make the outcome you want
- Feedback is immediate to your actions
- Action and Awareness are merged as one
- Failure doesn’t exist, nothing to worry about
- Your sense of time starts to distort
It doesn’t matter what you are doing, you can experience the joy and pleasure of being “In the zone”. Csikszentmihalyi points out five ways in which you can help improve your odds of reaching this stage.
- Goal Setting that have clear and immediate feedback
- Becoming immersed in the activity you are performing
- Being present, focusing on being in the moment
- Enjoy every step of the activity
- Proportioning one’s skills to the challenge at hand.
Being in the zone doesn't have to be "luck". Focus in on the points noted above and you will find yourself "In the Zone"!!