Practice being “in the zone”

“Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there’.”– Eckhart Tolle

“Anxiety is caused by a lack of control, organisation, preparation, and action.” – David Kekich

Goals are vital part of life, both personal and professional. Goals are different for different people and so is stress in achieving them. To a mountaineer, stress is the challenge of pushing physical resources to the limit of striving to achieve a demanding goal. To a student, it is the challenge to perform well in examination and to executives it is to withstand the competition and ambition of climbing up the ladder. To others it may be addressing different situations from managing work, to family and children.

Because everyone is driven by their goals, stress becomes a major and inevitable problem for many. Being exposed to stress over longer periods of time and without the necessary coping mechanisms can result in burnout and a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. This further leads to feeling tired all the time, failure to meet the deadlines, inability to stick to your goals and experiences of phantom aches and pains. Your personal productivity can be affected if this stress is poorly managed.

Stress & goal-striving

Stress is the inability to cope with a real or imagined threat to your mental, physical and emotional well-being which results in a series of psychological responses and manifests into health issues. Stress occurs when one is driven by compulsion to achieve what you are expected to or want to achieve. In striving for your goals you compete with yourself or with others to compensate for what you believe is lacking. At some point, we become caricatures of who we think we should be as our lifestyles become more external and we are driven by others rather than by our judgement of what we truly need.

Stress and work pressure becomes inevitable and solution lies in active management of stress.

Stress-management & Being “in the zone”

It is important to realise that everything is not just about goal-striving. Doing your tasks in a good state of mind and with good health is more important. This can be achieved by being “ in the zone” with your tasks. In many aspects, managing your tasks to attain your goals is more concerned with fundamental issues of doing meaningful work, mindful living and psychological well-being. Being “in the zone” with your goals helps you organise, do outcome thinking, provides clarity, and thereby reduces stress.

Being “ in the zone”

If you are ‘in the zone’ with your goal, you get intrinsically motivated and perform your tasks without being stressed about an external reward. Those who all in zone experience less stress as they are clear about what to pay attention to and have a complete picture of their commitments.

Checking whether you are being ‘in the zone’ is a simple and systematic process and the process involves comprehended check of your present direction with reference to what you truly want. Willingness to introspect lets you rediscover yourself. This can help you in making choices which are in alignment with your goals. This can help you distinguish between those things that dissipate your energies and those that add up to help you build the life you want.

Take little time to ask yourself following:

What to achieve?

Majority of times, stress is caused by the following situations:

• You know what you want, and you don’t know how to get it; and/or

• You don’t know what you want.

Most of the times, we create and identify with things that aren’t yet real on all the levels we experience; and when we do, we recognise how to restructure our current efforts to that particular outcome. Once you know what to achieve, you begin to be ‘in the zone’ and will more or less do your task automatically. If you trust that something you will more or less do automatically will provide direction and reduces stress. Having clear goals help you make better decisions about what to pay attention to.

What’s your next line of action?

Plan your work. Creating a cause-&-effect link in your mind about your next action will result in clarity, productivity and empowerment. You can really define the right action when you know the outcome you are after. When you organise and make plans ahead of time and decide what actions will be carried out in which context, you will be able to bring your attention to the appropriate things at the right time. Identifying those things that need focused attention and planning your next action keeps your mind relaxed and in the zone.

Are you in flow ?

Flow is the state of optimal performance and engaging your attention in what you are doing. Focused attention intrinsically motivates you. It is necessary that your skills match the challenge at hand. If the challenge exceeds your requisite skill level, you will experience anxiety and if your skills exceed the challenge, you likely feel bored and your flow gets affected. Flow is the complete concentration on the given task. When you have clear goals in sight with the right skill set and concentration, your action merges with your awareness and will allow you to engage more fully in the task at hand and ensures forward engagement in your plan.

How to be “ in the zone”

• Focus on what is important. Break down your complex goals into smaller and manageable ones. Once you achieve the little, you can set your eyes on the whole. Always commit to realistic goals.

• Do not expect fast results and easy outcomes. This makes you stressed and irritable. Take a break if you feel like you are on the verge of losing your calm.

• Discipline yourself not to put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Accumulation of undone jobs take up room in the mind and limits your clarity and focus.

• Don’t compare. Remember to calibrate your goals based on your own skill set, intellect and aptitude.

• Do not look for external validation as it can cause discontentment. Your performance depends on your skill set and efficiency.

• Be organised and review your direction of what you are doing and check whether what you are achieving is what you truly want.

• Monitor your mental and emotional state through self-observation and meditation.

Conclusion

Little time spent on getting to know your authentic self and bringing yourself ‘in the zone’ with what you want to achieve helps you lessen your emotional baggage of fears, anxieties and limitations. Make a list of possible sources of stress and attend to the issues that are a source of stress at the current time and work towards managing it.

“Doing something that is productive is a great way to alleviate emotional stress. Get your mind doing something that is productive.”

– Ziggy Marley

Revolutionise Your Perspective

Seeing things from a new point of view can be very enlightening. Be open to change your perspective.

“ It is your vibrational thoughts that give life to the goals you wish for”

Are you holding on to fixed ideas or assumptions about yourself?

Are you allowing yourself to be controlled by the past failures?

If yes, then you are limiting your abilities by holding on to self-limiting beliefs. These limiting beliefs of yourself hold you back from reaching your full potential.

The preconceived ideas tend to block your possibilities to do what you want to do. Dreams are essential, but it is also important to know what is keeping you from having it. Sometimes that might be your limiting subconscious belief.

Let us look at some of the self-limiting-beliefs.

Self-Depreciation

Beliefs like “I can’t do” or “I am not intelligent enough” or “I’d fail if I tried” or “ “I lack the experience” and so on destroy your desires. Many tend to attribute their lack of success to not being able to have proper education or financial stability and live a life consumed by their inadequacies.

Security-itis

Some don’t want to move out of their secure zone. Belief like “I am secure where I am” puts limits to explore new possibilities or keeps them from taking a different approach towards their goals.

Negative attitude

Thinking “There is no way to solve the problem” or “competition is just too much” or “I am not capable enough” make you hit the rough barrier soon and kill your desires.

Limited environment

The size of your goals and abilities depend on your environment. Your ambitions and personality is the result of your psychological environment. The environment in which you belong might label your ideas as ‘impractical’ ‘foolish’ ‘luck determines success’ ‘you are too old’ or ‘too young’ and so on.

Low self-worth:

You subconsciouslychoose or attract those people and experiences you believe you deserve. If you feel worthy you tend to make productive choices. If you feel unworthy, you tend to make limiting choices. Low self-worth generates tendencies to sabotage your own efforts. You may start to feel unlucky as things don’t turn out well.

All these perceptions make your perspective narrow. You fail to make out the overall picture and you will not be able to seek new solutions or take different approaches. You end up making limited belief that you can’t get ahead, so you don’t bother to try. Sometimes these same perceptions lead to self-destructive behaviour.

You are what you Think’ is an eternal truth. The words you say matter. So do your thoughts. If you want something different out of your life, then you have to do something different. Similar is the case with your thoughts. To overcome your limiting beliefs or whatever you find yourself complaining, you can make changes by taking responsibility of your thoughts. You can bring about a change in your perception of situations, problems and people in your life by adopting a new point of view. Seeing things from a different perspective creates new opportunities.

At every opportunity, it is important to believe that you have the potential to do better than you are now and should be willing to make an effort to overcome your self-limiting-beliefs.

There might be many detours on your path towards your goal. You can take these detours in your stride by Revolutionising Your Perspective. (RYP)

Changing your perspective lets you work around the hurdles. For instance, while driving, if you come to road closed’ situation, this simply means you can’t go where you want to go on this road. You will find another road that takes you where you want to go. You don’ have to change your desired goal.

Here are some aspects to consider to revolutionise your perspective. (RYP)

Be master of your own time

Some do extremely well when they are on tail wind, but as soon as they run into a head wind, they cannot cope. Sailing along in good winds is easy. As soon as the wind swings and changes it’s direction, they get self limiting and cannot move forward.

RYP by demonstrating a strong will and showing tenacity. Think back to how you were a year or two years ago, about your achievements, have gone forward or backward, have you stayed or continued on right path. You will find that although you may have suffered certain set backs in some instances, on the whole you would have made a steady progress. You will come to realise that setbacks or hardships in your life were very brief and were temporary. If you focus only on the difficult times you will end up getting discouraged. Mastering your time makes your will resolute to move forward in difficult winds.

Be Flexible

Is it sufficient for us to advance in just one direction. Following just one pattern of thinking limits our possibilities. No one is perfect or capable of sailing through without any problems. The reality is people move to the left then to right, they fail and go down, then they stand up again.

RYP by not clinging to a particular method or fixed notions from your past. Unidirectional approach limits your possibilities and ideas. Being flexible in hard times lets you get through difficulties. Explore new possibilities to get around the problem. A path is sure to open up if you are willing to change. If your limitation is that goal is too big, divide it into small realistic steps. If you think you are not qualified enough,try to gain some required skills and apply them to achieve your purpose.

Be flexible and think of ways to turn the situation to your advantage.

Use adversity as springboard

No one can sail through life or travel on their path without facing set backs, failures and difficulties. Life is not necessarily filled with good experiences, even before you were born. So you are not here simply to have everything run smoothly for you.

RYP by taking difficulties or set backs as experiences provided to make you strong and turn them into opportunities to grow. We are here to accumulate different experiences by repeating the process of trial and error. Make the utmost effort with all the knowledge, skills and ideas you possess to cope with adversity. Do not let yourself swept away by the tides of adversity instead use it as a springboard to move forward.

Think like long distance runner

There are always two ways of considering a situation, short-term and long-term. You may not be a sprinter, but this doesn’t mean that you do not have the ability to run. It is true that people have different levels of ability. Some can master something in short term but some take longer time.

RYP by thinking like long-distance runner. Inspite of being a slow learner or with no potential to do well, with continued effort and certain amount of discipline you can achieve what you desire in the long run. A short-term perspective sometimes has a probability of being less successful and has more chances of people concluding that they are no good and ending up having no goal. In the first place. The fact that you did not succeed in short term doesn’t mean that you cannot in long term. It is necessary to extend your time frame to meet your desired goal and you can do so with better ability.

Nothing in this world is a waste

Sometimes the people in your life become your limiting factor. The main problem lies in our incorrect perception of people and things around. This distorted perception of others makes us moan and complain. We tend to categorise them as good and evil and criticise, dislike and distrust. Because of this many wish if they were in a better situation or with better company or with better people. This becomes a major hurdle in working along with others.

RYP by changing your outlook. Ask yourself if there is some other way of seeing a situation. When you happen to meet people you dislike, try and figure out why they are disagreeable to you, or why their character displeases you, or why they have a pessimistic attitude. Unless you adopt to the belief that these negative views cannot be true, you cannot change your perspective. Sometimes it is only our wrong understanding and our distorted views that limits our knowledge about others.

Aim for a goal one step higher

Some find that they are capable of reaching certain point only to discover that success eludes them. Their subconscious fear of total success makes them anxious as they feel that they have not earned it. As a result, they fail to achieve their goals when they have only a little further to go.

RYP to overcome this kind of situation. Instead of getting into trouble, when approaching your goal, practice setting your sights on a goal that is even higher. Making a habit of thinking one step ahead. Plan for your next step and aim for a higher goal. There is always a higher mountain waiting to be tackled. This makes you less anxious towards your present purpose and prepare you better for your next move.

To sum up, you can train yourself not to limit yourself as you have every potential to become what you think you are. So get down to the deepest level, find your limited thinking and beliefs, and try to change your perspective to make them supportive to what you want to achieve. Adopt to a new way of thinking.