Tag Archives: The Zone

Getting Your Team into the Zone

Originally posted August 25, 2011

The Zone or Flow State is something we all have observed in other people such as supreme athletes or musicians in moments of peak performance — people doing something extremely difficult and doing it perfectly — it seems like magic or even a miracle — we are riveted, transfixed, watching it happen.

Science has begun to acknowledge that this state is real and measurable. Master Marvin Chun who heads Yale’s Neuroscience Department notes that what appears to be chatter crossing the corpus callosum between left and right brain dies down with the onset of the Zone. This is just one notable example of scientific measurements of the Zone in recent years.

In The Theory of The Conscious Universe, the Zone is the state in which information leaks in from outside the local self; as if the membrane separating you from the rest of the universe has suddenly become semi-permeable. We postulate that the heroic personages recorded by history who have moved us in the direction of more noble ideals were in the Zone when these ideas hit them, as were the great scientists who intuited amazing truths about reality. The Kabala uses a diagram of consciousness called The Tree of Life in which there is a dotted circle representing the Zone where one receives information in an extrasensory manner — “inspiration” as if breathing in information. This sphere is called Da’at or Da’ath. In fact the word Kabala means “to receive” and “the received”.

In an earlier post we postulated a theory of what we call Holosentience, which speculates that the Zone occurs when all parts of the brain and mind* are working together as a single unit, like a finely tuned orchestra. This contrasts in our theory of Holosentience with the everyday state of consciousness I call Emergency Oversimplification Procedure or EOP, in which a part of the brain and mind, a sub-sentience, operates as if it is the whole sentience. This sub-sentience has been called the ego. I see it as the software layer of the brain, which is built up of proteins into neuron clusters mostly in the early years of life. Experiences drive this buildup and in this way unassimilated memories become unassimilated motivations. Under the regime of Acceleritis™ — information overload generated by the type of culture we have become — EOP is now our dominant coping style.

EOP keeps us out of the Zone. The way from EOP into the Zone starts with the Observer state, an interim state in which we detach from identification with the voices of ego in our head, our thoughts, while remaining aware of these voices or thoughts for what they are — ingrained robotic reflexes. The Observer state combined with practicing an activity we love leads to the Zone. Emotional distraction by the ego’s excessive desire to win, or the ego’s fear of failure, is the final barrier to the Zone — that is, when our practice and training has reached the point where the Zone is physically within reach of our skills.

In To Have and Have Not, Hemingway’s protagonist Harry Morgan ultimately concludes that “one man alone… ain’t got no chance.” This has never been truer than it is today with the accelerating information overload totally out of control as we head toward a precipice of seemingly impossible economic challenge, miniaturization and increasing availability of weapons of mass destruction, carcinogenic environmental conditions, and spiritual bankruptcy. The world more than ever needs for people to be able to work together as high performing teams. And so the headline of this post, Getting Your Team into the Zone — even more important than getting yourself into the Zone because one person alone in the Zone might not be able to make enough of a difference. We need critical mass.

So how do we do it? How do we evoke Zone performance in a whole team, of which no single person is ever in total control, even if he/she is technically “the boss”? You dear reader are probably the boss of your team while you and your team are a part of your boss’s team — a common situation in corporate life. How do you get your own team into the Zone, and then how does your team get the larger team of which it is a part into the Zone?

Obviously you don’t expect this to be a one-trick answer. We are all too sophisticated to believe it could be that simple, or we’d all be there already. It isn’t simple, it’s incredibly complicated. But one can extract simple principles that work, and enough of these simple principles put into practice will produce a high performing team.

Let’s start in this post with one of the most mission critical principles. It’s about negativity.

Negativity is counterproductive to team Zone performance because it spills time and energy. The Zone is a state of ultimate efficiency and so anything wasteful is guaranteed to block the Zone. Explain it to your team this way: negativity gets in the way of solving whatever it is that has caused the negativity. Take negativity as an alarm that tells us we need to define the problem clearly, generate creative solution ideas, make decisions on an action path, and take that action. Negativity is just stalling that whole process and wasting time — which is no way to create team high performance.

The thing about negativity is that it does not emanate from the whole brain and mind. Negativity comes from the sub-sentience. It is a well-worn reflex. When confronted with a threat, the holosentience reacts with an optimal response to that threat, if the person is in the Zone. If the person is in EOP, the sub-sentience reflex is fear that may be compounded with a sense of helplessness, doom, defeatism, self-loathing, anger, frustration  and other overlays, triggered by a cascade of energy lighting up interlocking neuron clusters. The negativity of these feelings is typically communicated to those in the vicinity including animals even if only by body language and the pheromones in perspiration. These micro clues of negativity further reduce the likelihood of an effective real world response to whatever the challenge is, by encouraging foes and undermining the support of potential allies.

Teams can engage in frequent training sessions to talk about the value of becoming high performing members of high performing teams, and ways to get there. Bringing in outside speakers helps overcome the inertia and subconsciously gives “permission” for sudden change to be realistically possible. The word “training” may or may not be used; some people feel that once they are adults there is something insulting and/or embarrassing about the word. Maybe call them Zone sessions to keep the goal in mind and remove the connotations of “training”.

Team members are directed to deploy negativity detectors within their mind at all times. When a person detects the auto-negativity, he/she should be able to remain in the Observer state by not siding with the negativity, not making it one’s own, but rather seeing it as a bodily reaction, an old habit pattern, and something that can be risen above into a state closer to the Zone (the Observer state being the access path to the Zone).

Now, something must be done with that negative energy in order to transmute it into something else, otherwise it is more difficult to overcome the feeling in oneself. Remaining the Observer one can look at the negativity in a new way, gaining insight into oneself and others, and creating conditions conducive to new solution approaches. Why am I being negative? What haven’t I tried yet? What is the goal? What are the obstacles? What causes each obstacle? Analysis is the place to channel the negativity.

Anything can be described as a game. And people and animals love games. By making more things gamelike, the possibilities for making a high performing team out of a demoralized griping bunch of cynics become realistic. Consider it a game to make negativity off limits in one’s own mind. You can’t initially stop the negative impulses from arising but you can get better and faster at judoing those impulses into opportunities for analysis and creativity.

You might hear yourself groaning inwardly in a meeting in which so-and-so repeats his endless habit of blaming everyone else for something. Quickly gain control of your inner self and do not identify with your inward groan but attribute it to a robotic reflex of certain neuron clusters. Okay thanks, neuron cluster, you did your job, like an alarm clock, painting a certain event as a clue that something needs fixing — in this case it is something that you never took it on yourself to fix because let’s face it, your chances of changing so-and-so seem pretty slim, so like everyone else you’ve just lived with it. Maybe that has always been a cowardly reaction that you’ve shared with everyone else. So maybe today is the day to start to consider the right action instead of dodging it.

That doesn’t mean impulsively jumping in and trying the first thing that comes to mind, although sometimes that works. It might be better to use the energy to run some simulations in your mind of what you could say and how it might be received. As long as you know you have successfully rechanneled the negativity and you are on the case with some fresh ideas as to how to help so-and-so out of his blaming mode, you needn’t rush into action in that same meeting. Just keep processing the action ideas until the time feels right and you are yourself feeling centered in a moderate frame of mind and in the Observer state without negativity or ego attachment — then you can flow with the moment and put out a new thought that might help so-and-so break his old negativity habit of the blame game.

If the team knows that high performance is the goal, this helps everyone look at things in a new way: it is more gamelike, more intriguing, it isn’t the same old.

The first two principles to move your team toward the Zone therefore are to set the goal, and to reveal the trick of rechanneling negativity inside yourself. More principles of high performing team creation in posts to come.

Best to all,

Bill

*The Theory of the Conscious Universe was the working title of my book, “You Are the Universe: Imagine That”, released in 2014 . In the Theory of the Conscious Universe, the brain is the energy emanated by the Original mind, wound into matter, and our experience transcends dependence on the brain as we are a part of Original mind (and the whole of its experience of selfness). In modern day materialism, the mind is an energy field emanated by the brain. In ultra-behaviorism, the mind is an impotent epiphenomenon of the brain, making believe it is calling the shots but is really just along for the ride.

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Originally posted 2011-08-25 07:02:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

One of the Greatest Mind Stretchers

Originally posted August 18, 2011

      Before Abraham - by Stan Satlin - © 2011
     Audio: click arrow to play/pause

Every now and then I am tapped to give a workshop to a group of sufficient strategic importance that I cannot refuse. Although I am there to tell them about THEI (the Human Effectiveness Institute), they usually tell me they have sought me out to start them off in some far-reaching planning cycle by simply helping them to first stretch their minds. They see me as a provoker of out-of-the-box thinking. I’m grateful for the opportunities this perception provides to disseminate THEI techniques conducive to higher performance.

In recent posts we have been stretching our minds by considering the possibility that the original spark of consciousness in the Universe is what each of us experiences as our own sense of self.

We saw that there are biases that come from our senses, which detect matter through the medium of energy interactions between our matter molecules and those of other matter molecules. In recent posts we have also worked to counteract these biases by focusing on the fact that it is only our consciousness, our sense of self, our experiencing of information that we detect directly, and can therefore say we “know”. Our sensory information comes to us through abstract hookups and translations of one thing into another, i.e. coded information that can be presented any number of ways. We do not “know” through our eyes as well as we know that we exist as a self even in a sensory deprivation tank.

These biases are magnified by Acceleritis™, the accelerating information overload that has outstripped our processing capacity except when we successfully use psychotechnology — the output of THEI and others practiced in the art, notably the advanced yogis, classic philosophers, religion founders, the writers of the literature of sages, and the synthesizers of this material via their esoteric schools such as Arica, Insight Meditation, Freemasons, et al. All of these people have tried to condense and pass along psychotechnology techniques conducive to shifting an individual’s consciousness into flow state, aka the Zone; this too is THEI’s raison d’etre.

In this post we will pass along one of the most mind stretching and mind bending exercises, one that must have existed before written language, because some of the very first things ever written down related to this exercise.

Except that those who first thunk it, and those who wind up thinking about it today, do not see it as an exercise, but rather as a stream of thought that suddenly turns a weird corner. Here’s how it happens. I promise you your mind will be stretched. How you use the extra limbering is up to you — we hope you will leverage it for something important to you.

It starts with thinking about the universe — whatever the individual knows or feels intuitively about the universe — stars, galaxies, the Big Bang. The next thought is usually “What was there before the Big Bang?”

This thought in itself is a mind stretcher. The imagination fires up a few cylinders and takes a crack at coming up with an answer. Before reading further we suggest you mentally go off by yourself and see what answer(s) your mind comes up with for the question “What was there before the Big Bang?”

Hope you enjoyed that. Quantum Mechanics (QM) and Relativity have today evolved to having a point of view about the answer to this question. Today the perspective is that fluctuations in quantum possibility caused the Big Bang. That presupposes that quantum possibility existed all along but in a state of equilibrium until these supposed fluctuations took place without a cause i.e. randomly, which raises the question “What created the quantum possibility?” Not to mention “What the heck is quantum possibility?”

In fact quantum possibility is simply the old metaphysical concept of “possibility” with the word “quantum” in front of it to make it sound scientifically respectable.

The ancient saying “Out of Nothing, Nothing Comes” reflects the human intuition that there is no free lunch. It also means that something cannot come out of nothing, because that would just mean the something was there in the nothing all along, but hiding.

So it is also possible that the universe could have in the beginning been simple nothingness, without even quantum foam, today’s term for the aether i.e. the spatiotemporal matrix as it exists before you count anything that is in it. In fact, isn’t it much more logical that nothing should have ever existed? After all, where would something have come from?

The human intuition is biased toward including time in every picture — time which QM says does not actually exist out of the context of an observer’s consciousness — and is therefore not a constant something in itself but is different for different observers. Yet we insist on intuiting with time in the picture. This makes us think “There must have been some beginning, but what was there before that, and what started time?”

The other way of thinking, without the bias toward including time, is that everything is already in every state it will ever be in, at once, i.e. all of time is condensed into a single frame in the consciousness of the universe. Thus there was no beginning, no something coming out of nothing, because what has always existed is this single master consciousness, existing in its own view within a single instant of its own time.

This could be Its motivation in creating its little selves like us who can scoot around in a series of instants and have a rollercoaster ride unlike any other route through the game that any other created little self has ever traveled before. Thus there can be an infinity of experienced information within the one instant.

Going back to the time-based way of thinking, if there ever had been Nothing, could anything have come out of it? An emergent characteristic of the Nothing?

If Possibility is a real thing then Possibility could have co-existed with the Nothing, because Possibility is not a something, it is just a possibility of a something. But are these mere words without real referents, i.e. for things that actually exist?

“Nothing should ever have existed” is a permanent perception of one part of my mind, the part that thinks in terms of there being a beginning — which most of me doubts. It is comforting that we do not know everything, yet some day we might learn the real answers to these incredibly important questions in understanding who and what we are.

Nothing should ever have existed — that’s like saying “They gave a universe and nobody came.” It just seems improbable that anything could exist since how could the universe start out in any condition other than Nothingness? Nothingness seems to have to be the rest state — the starting condition — doesn’t it?

Thinking this way the ancient Kabalists saw the universe being formed in three steps:

  1. Ain — Nothingness
  2. Ain Soph — the Nothingness becomes self-aware forming a singularity in space (first Kether)
  3. Ain Soph Aur — endless light begins to stream from the singularity in space

I wrote a book for my grandson Nicholas David called The Nothing’s Imagination based on this premise: the active cause for the bootstrap operation by which Nothing gave birth to Everything was the imagination of the conscious Nothingness.

Hope you’ve enjoyed a little mind stretching contemplation of the virtual beginning of everything. If your mind feels different, please do something creative and fulfilling right now, or as soon as you can.

From now on we will start each post by stating the intended benefit of the psychotechnology in that post, as we did here.

Best to all,

Bill

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Originally posted 2011-08-18 10:09:20. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Transforming Our Emotions

Originally posted June 2, 2015

In the complex accelerated culture in which we live (we call it Acceleritis™), self-mastery of our inner space, or even awareness of what is going on in there, is extremely complicated. Neuroses can arise like biocomputer viruses, and spread through society by intercommunication between people, through our thoughts and ideas and through moods upon which neuroses depend.

Be the masters of our emotions

Two recurring neurotic themes most of us can relate to involve money and frustration. Our culture is set up to cause most of us to worry excessively about money. Money is often the leading indicator of our feelings of self-worth, belonging, achievement, status, freedom, wellness, potency and security. I’m probably leaving some things out.

Frustration can mount, for example, in the workplace when co-workers and bosses don’t go along with the inspiring ideas we have about how to do our job better. Or when society does not encourage (or recognize) an inborn skill or talent and instead of channeling us into a career we love, we find ourselves doing work we can tolerate but that may do little to bring out those inborn talents.

Over time the mix of frustration and money fear can turn to a growing anger, often bottled up inside where when left to simmer and build it can become one of the causes of illnesses of the mind and body. We fall into a counterproductive cycle. We become blocked from getting into the Zone, where ideas, action solutions and clever ways to break through would lead us to create a path to more money, security and happiness.

With the emotions as a wrapper around our whole mental experience, thoughts flit along the surface of the mind. Emotions program thoughts and vice versa. Everything affects everything else in there.

We can ignite the start of a new cycle by seizing the control point where the avalanche starts — our emotional mood. Becoming aware of our emotional state and then working mindfully to take back control of the emotive space around our psyche is key. Detachment from outcome is the core of heroism. A sense of humor gives perspective. Willingness to face the worst with confidence in oneself (and for many, confidence in God/the Universe/a Higher Power) confers a courageous fatalism that has been rediscovered by all of the heroes in history.

In order to (re-)program our emotional wrapper, detachment is not enough. We are emotional beings, hardwired to have some emotional drama going on in the background at all times. Getting into the Zone aka Flow state requires awareness and management of that background emotional mood. If we are not proactively programming it in alignment with our intentions, it will continue to program itself.

Each of us needs then to work to transform negative emotion, the nemesis of the Zone, into positive emotion — which means remembering all we have to be grateful for, and all there is to look forward to and be excited about.

We may experience challenging (even heartbreaking) trials but we need to be able to shift our focus to see them as opportunities that reveal what we are really made of.

Best to all,

Bill

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Originally posted 2015-06-02 11:12:13. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

A Practice for Starting Your Day

Originally posted May 26, 2015

Set Your Intentions

Have you noticed it’s often difficult to overcome a bad start to the day, and that as the day begins so shall it most likely go? This makes the first moments of waking up in the morning a perfect time to remember and practice slipping into the Observer state.

Observer state is a mindset in which we are less caught up in the process of our emotions, and are able to simultaneously observe and analyze them somewhat impassively. Wearing the Observer lens makes us more effective and creative at changing the conditions that cause negative emotions. It also makes us more able to flick into the Zone, where our performance and creativity are sparked and further upshifted.

So how do we get into the Observer state? Here’s what works for me. I begin by remaining in that transition state from sleep to wakefulness, avoiding the use of language orally or mentally, and filtering out any distractions. I stay focused on the feeling of whatever dreams I’ve had, and recapture whatever images I can from those dreams. Try this yourself upon waking. Then stay with the feelings and images a moment or so longer until you can get a hunch as to the possible meaning of those dreams — what is the message from your subconscious?

It helps if you can then move your thoughts on to the day ahead while still in bed, still sleeping as far as anyone can tell, in that transitional state. Get a fix on the possible significance of your day, what you can potentially accomplish. Visualize an upside outcome that will make you happy when you go to sleep next. This is your strong intention, your Will. Picture it. Feel it.

Then imagine what could go wrong and come up with ideas as to how to deal with those challenges. This can be just brief flashes of an idea to be worked out in detail later. Making notes while they are fresh in your mind is often a huge advantage so I encourage jotting down (or keying in) a few thoughts as soon as you feel you have to actually open your eyes and get out of bed.

What keeps us out of the two higher states of consciousness, Observer and Flow, is usually the ego. This ego process is often driven by fear of failure in one form or another, and comes from excessive attachment, and perceiving past events as failures instead of embracing them as wonderful learning experiences. Practicing wearing the Observer lens helps us improve our ability to float upward out of this debris, gain perspective on it, and flow into the Zone.

Best to all.

Bill

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Originally posted 2015-05-26 12:02:13. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Being a Friend

Originally posted April 21, 2015

When someone frustrates you or otherwise pulls you out of your good mood, what do you do? Play the blame game?

Next time, consider first how you played along with the event and therefore that both of you contributed to the bad mood. This perspective will get you more quickly to the levers you can pull to work on that relationship effectively.

open up possibility - Bil Harvey

Open Mind, Open Heart

Resist the temptation to demonize the other person. Realize they got to where they are through a series of events that were perhaps unfortunate and be glad the events in your life left you with more visibility, perspective and perhaps less closed-mindedness. Be open to all possibilities including that your behavior was the instigator for the events that frustrated you.

Resist also the temptation to teach other people — that is not what they want. If they want your advice, they’ll ask for it. What they want the most from you is simply and truly to be their friend. So what does that mean?

  • Warm, good feelings (love) — from the heart;
  • Be honest — in a way that helps not hurts;
  • Let them know you want them to succeed — even if they succeed ahead of you;
  • Share fairly with them;
  • Encourage them;
  • Help them see the brighter side if they’re stuck in the downside. People want to be in a good mood — bring yours and they will join you — that is leadership.
  • Brainstorm with them to creatively explore options that might lead to more success than their current route.

Being a friend is the optimal foundation of any relationship, including relationships with co-workers and relatives. It helps allow the Zone to happen for you, your friends, and sometimes among whole teams of people. And the best way to carry out a long-term plan to create more positive relationships is as a friend, not as an adversary or a distant party.

Best to all,

Bill

PS — Several years ago Ed Keller and Brad Fay of KellerFay came out with THE FACE-TO-FACE BOOK: WHY REAL RELATIONSHIPS RULE IN A DIGITAL MARKETPLACE. The revelation of the book is that face-to-face conversations still rule in terms of volume and in terms of credibility, despite all the press about social media and all of the other options now available to us. The practical application is about how to use not only social media but everything else that has been proven to work to drive positive conversations including face-to-face. The lessons here still apply to all of us today — learn what works.

Read the latest post at my media blog, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com

Originally posted 2015-04-21 09:39:13. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Moving Beyond Fear to Happiness

Originally posted March 31, 2015

The two biggest blocks to the Zone/Flow state are distraction and attachment.

Release Attachment - Let it go. - Bill Harvey

Attachment is also the only block to happiness, joy, delight, fun, ananda (or bliss, from Hinduism and Buddhism) — the natural built-in target state for all of us.

Attachment blocks happiness because one is fearful of losing the things one associates with happiness and tacitly assumes are requirements for happiness. When we are attached, we are also angry at whatever is suspected or known to threaten or take away those precious happiness-causing things.

“I am really attached to Pippin” (one of my cats) is a true statement for me because I love her. To experience love is not necessarily to be attached, though. To avoid confusion and getting lost in wordplay about whether attachment is a good or bad thing (because the word “attachment” is associated with the word “love”), I am using the term attachment to mean the inability to separate love from attachment and the resulting anger/fear syndrome.

The difference comes from the importance we give to keeping the “things” that give us happiness. If we truly appreciate the joy that has been created by our loves, joy that has been creating other good things through spontaneous Flow state creativity (which emerges naturally from joy and from love) it is still possible to not worry about losing any of those “things”. In fact, when we are in that state of not fearing loss, we are truly free.

A Process for Releasing Attachment

A powerful contemplation technique offered in Mind Magic involves burning out one’s attachments by intensely envisioning and feeling the loss of each separate thing one is attached to. This requires setting aside alone time, without a sense of time pressure. It requires immersion, concentration, patience as you go over the same material again and again. It’s probably best to focus on one object of your attachment at a time.

Give your imagination free reign like in a daydream. Imagine and see yourself go through the experience of the moment you lose something you are deeply attached to and visualize how it might happen. See it vividly from the inside, the way you experience life. Feel the feelings. Watch yourself in the daydream, the things you say in that situation, and the way you say them, and how the other person responds if the particular attachment involves another person. Let yourself actually feel the loss as if it is really happening.

Each time you go over the same imagined loss experience, you give the situation a more intelligent response. In your later iterations of the exercise you will start to act like the hero you are in the daydream of the loss. You will begin to feel differently about yourself from that moment on — more confident, more self-respectful, more courageous, in fact less prone to fear and anger.

Through this process, you realize you are no longer attached to a particular outcome, because you now know how you will respond if what you had feared ever happens.

Release attachments. Let them go. Happiness is the off-the-scale self-evidently best state one can experience in the emotional dimension.

 

Alone Space VideosWatch short videos on cultivating Alone Space Contemplation.

 

Happiness to all,

Bill

P.S. It can take some time for you to feel the effects of this technique internally, due to the interconnections among various ego circuits in your head. Be patient and persevere. And be happy. smiley

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Originally posted 2015-03-31 11:30:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter