Tag Archives: The Zone

A Practice for Starting Your Day

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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

Follow my regular media blog, In Terms of ROI at Media Village, Myers new site. Here is the link to my latest post.

Being a Friend

View the current THE CHIEF episode Go the the current Great Being post

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.

Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network: "In Terms of ROI". It is in the free section of the website at Bill Harvey at MediaBizBloggers.com.

The Second Cornerstone: Mindfulness

Go the the current Great Being post

In last week’s post we made the point that better decision-making and higher performance is achieved mainly through Positive Thinking and Mindfulness. We included tools to increase Positive Thinking, which we also call Solution Orientation. We promised to investigate the nature of Mindfulness in this post.

Mindfulness is a form of attention control.

The need to be master of one’s own attention has gotten progressively greater over the centuries as a result of information overload and its distractive effects. We have given this condition the name Acceleritis™, the vast increase in the amount of information needing to be processed by our brains each day. ADD, ADHD, and a fairly obvious reduction in the general population’s ability to stay focused on one problem long enough to solve it, have been the result.

Watch a video about the cure for Acceleritis.

The need for Mindfulness has never been greater.

The Vedas, some of the earliest writings on the planet, recommend three yogic mental/emotional methods to achieve the conscious and willful control of our attention.

  • Concentration is the focus of the mind on a single object.
     
  • Contemplation is the focus of the mind on a single subject.
     
  • Meditation is the contemplation of the Self.

What then is Mindfulness?

We define Mindfulness as the optimal allocation of attention for maximum effectiveness. When one is mindful, attention optimally allocates both inwardly and outwardly at the same time. This helps us understand our own motivations in the moment, to consider not only our needs but the needs and probable responses of others, and to greatly improve what fighter pilots call situational awareness. This is in sharp distinction from our typical behavior, which is to allocate virtually all attention outwardly whenever the eyes are open.

It takes attention and effort to be mindful, but practicing persistent mindfulness not only allows us to be more present in each moment, it also allows us to shift into a higher state of consciousness to reach the Observer state more often and launch into the Zone or Flow state, the highest known state of consciousness in which right actions seem to do themselves effortlessly.

Mindfulness and Positive Thinking with a solution orientation — overleaping the focus on the problem once it is defined and going right to the focus on the solution — are the cornerstones of what I practice to achieve superior decisions, highest effectiveness, and creative innovation in all aspects of my life. Try this approach for yourself to see if it works for you.

Best to all,

Bill 

Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network: "In Terms of ROI". It is in the free section of the website at Bill Harvey at MediaBizBloggers.com.

Bill interviewed on RBDRFor those interested in my work in the media business world you might like to watch my video interview with Bob Lederer on Research Daily Report in which I sum up highlights from the ARF Re:Think 2015 Conference in New York March 16 – 18.

Positive Thinking

Go the the current Great Being post

People are always saying to me, “Bill, you’re one of the most positive people around.” While I take it as a high compliment, I am always thinking “How do I convey that there’s more to it than positive thinking?”

Positive thinking is an idea all of us know by now, and it is not easy for most people to practice it when faced with perceived threats, disappointments or other mood negators.

You Have The Power

I actually didn’t set out to be a positive thinker. Like all children I wondered about everything, I just wondered more systematically, and in a bulldog fashion. A philosopher by nature, I really wanted to figure things out. The positive thinking came along with a lot of other discoveries.

As a philosopher I am attracted to pragmatism. This moves the mind toward positive thinking as a side effect. From a pragmatic point of view, one does not start with positive thinking, but with questions like what is our goal or purpose, and then what means will get us there. In the context of pragmatism, anything but positive thinking is an obvious waste of time and energy! Negative handwringing is staying in the problem definition phase when it’s time to move on to the solution phase.

Having been led to positive thinking via pragmatism, I was then able to see the value of projecting positively, pre-visualizing positively, and communicating positively as simply more effective at achieving goals. I didn’t do those things out of a belief in thinking positively; I did them because I saw that they worked.

Here are some other attitudes or strategies that I find work well along with positive thinking:

  • Have fun, because fun is conducive to reaching Flow state.
  • Develop long-term goals and then work toward aligning your short-term goals to your long-term goals.
  • Consider “What can I control or change, and what must I accept?”
  • Take the right action and let the chips fall as they may.
  • Pre-visualize successful outcomes.
  • Non-attachment to outcome is key.

Positive thinking is one of the cornerstones of success, leading to Flow state or Zone-level performance, ability to withstand and meet challenges, ability to be happy. I highly recommend it as a daily practice.

Mindfulness is another necessary component that works side by side with positive thinking. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on mindfulness in the next post.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network: "In Terms of ROI". It is in the free section of the website at Bill Harvey at MediaBizBloggers.com.

If You Aren’t Enjoying Your Self, Something’s Wrong

Go the the current Great Being post

Assume that if you are in a bad mood or feel a negative physical symptom, this is a direct internal communication to you. Your subconscious is trying to tell you something! This is an autonomic alarm system we all have.

If for example your current activities are not in alignment with your goals, or if you have set a goal that is not in alignment with your core values, parts of your mind will try to bring this to your conscious attention any way they can, and often the signaling will involve feelings of distress or something not quite right.

Maybe it starts out one day as a bad mood you don’t even realize you are in, and then escalate as the signal strength is gradually increased in an attempt to finally get your attention. If this persists long enough it can turn into physical symptoms. It is all about communication — in this case, internal communication.

Act as if you deserve to be happy

The highest priority then is to decode the message and thereby reverse the emotional or physical quandary. Don’t get lost in the suffering and forget to decipher first, ahead of anything else. Act as if you deserve to be happy at all times, whatever the circumstances.

Getting lost in the suffering is what most of us do at most times, and this is a life-threatening waste of time. It also blocks your quality. There’s no point in soldiering on in a bad mood because whatever you do in that state will not be in the range of high quality / high effectiveness. Better to let the work fall even farther behind while you figure out what is bugging you and dispel it by taking the action required.

How Can You Find Your Way into Flow State?

One of the primary characteristics of Flow state (aka the Zone) is that the individual is doing something s/he loves to do, fully immersed in the playing of that game as a game, without over-motivation to win or over-concern of failure — and above all that, free of attachment. This mood is a clue that you are in the process of moving into higher effectiveness, you just go with the flow, enjoying it — and if you don’t distract yourself by subtly gloating over it, you go all the way into the Zone.

If something is bringing you down, that is going to block the Zone. Set aside your work, get yourself somewhere where you are uninterruptible, and see inside yourself to detect the source of the bad mood or sick feeling.

Are you attached to something that you fear not getting? Or are you attached to something not happening that some part of you expects will be happening anyway? What could it be?

You might find that taking notes helps, especially if you let the pen just write, without editing, because different neuron clusters become engaged when you go from just pondering to also writing notes. Shifting modalities like this is like sweeping a searchlight around inside your psyche.

Another way to shift modalities and bring different neurons into play is to turn aside from actively thinking about the question and instead just cultivate emptiness inside while paying sharp attention. This is a powerful shift of neurons, known to many writers. For example, adman James Webb Young’s 1960 classic A Technique For Producing Ideas speaks about a need to set aside all thought about a project after studying and thinking deeply about it, and sure enough flashes of inspiration will appear out of nowhere (usually within three days in this writer’s experience, frequently within hours nowadays after decades of practice).

A more common experience we’ve all had is when trying to think of a word or name. It is on the tip of our tongue and we keep trying the same file drawer in our mind, certain that with enough effort we will remember it. But we don’t remember it until we give up and then it easily pops into our head a short while later. Same principle.

You Deserve To Be Happy

Remain open to the existence of all possibilities where you have not proven — with evidence that would stand up in court and to scientific public scrutiny — that some possibility does not in fact exist. Do not tolerate bad moods or sickly symptoms in oneself without seeking out the root causes and taking effective action to remove those causes.

Banish negativity as ineffective time-wasting! Rechannel your energy into a stimulus to discern the root sources — and then plan and implement effective actions to remove those root causes of the negativity. And remember to respect yourself and everyone and everything else. Disrespect blocks solutions and creates new problems.

Our purpose steadfastly remains to improve the creative effectiveness of our readers thus improving decision making. Test this method over the next week or lifetime and see if it works for you. There is no downside risk in the test — it can only help you, or at the worst change nothing.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network: "In Terms of ROI". It is in the free section of the website at Bill Harvey at MediaBizBloggers.com