The Zone : Out of The Zone
Out of The Zone
By Tom Evans
When we stray out of the zone, we may find we have wandered into the Danger Zones.
These zones can suck us in when we are least aware. Once in, we can be stuck there for days, months or even years. Some people spend a whole life time in one or more of the Danger Zones. These unfortunate souls are easy to spot. They are the naysayers who constantly worry or pour scorn on anything that is in the least bit positive. Misfortune seems to visit their door more often than Lady Luck. They are quite often ill.
Sometimes entry into the Danger Zones are triggered by an external event. Someone may have annoyed you at work or crossed a boundary. An accident or illness may have afflicted a family member. You may have been doing brilliantly in one of the Doing Zones when all the wheels came off. This can of course lead to all sorts of emotions like self-doubt, guilt and anger.
In each case though, it is our reaction to the event, not the event itself that causes us to be entrapped in a Danger Zone.
While we might not be able to define or locate 'the zone’, we can easily spot when we are out of it.
For starters, our language gives it away.
“I am out of sorts.”
“The world is against me today.”
“I can't get out of the blocks this morning.”
“I wish there were more hours in the day.”
This latter statement especially is such a tell tale sign that things are not going our way.
So when we are 'out of the zone’, it appears that the world, the system, our colleagues at work, our friends and even our family are against us. We can become indignant and even angry. It is all too easy to end up in a downward spiral of depression and alienation. This makes it increasingly difficult to get back ’in the zone.’
Just imagine for a moment a time when everything was going swimmingly. You were on fire and unstoppable. What ever you were doing at the time, you were focussed on the task at hand and your mind was not occupied in self absorption. Perhaps after the event you were glowing with pride at what you had done and achieved with such ease. If you think of a past conversation though, or daydream about making millions on the back of what you are working on, such mind wanderings will take you 'out of the zone.’
The best aspect of being in The Zone is that, when you are in it, you cannot help but suck those around you into it too. We must beware as, when we are in a Danger Zone, we adversely affect our friends, family and colleagues. Critics and journalists can exhibit this tendency. They hover like hungry vultures, when celebrities encounter misfortune, looking for scraps to feed on and distribute to equally voracious readers.
We possess an inner critic which can be all too active at times. Our mind gets clouded in self pity causing in turn a lack of self worth. When this happens we are simply unable to perform at our best.
The solution though is not as simple as snapping out of it. We know that time can heal rifts but we often want a solution right away. How do we go about it?
What we need is some perspective. This is not as simple as seeing the world as being 'a glass half full’, as opposed to being 'a glass half empty.’ Of course, we know there are many people worse off than us and that we should be grateful for what we’ve got. If someone tells you that, it can make the situation worse, not better. What we need is help to get back in the zone now.
For starters, it helps to look at adversity and resistance from a different viewpoint. Look for what it teaches you about you and what you can learn from it. For example, if you work out how to get over the barrier that is stopping you, then you can turn such adversity into opportunity. You can write a book about what you learned, start running workshops and deliver personal mentoring to those similarly afflicted. You have been there and got the T-shirt so you are well placed to help others.
More simply, we can take such an adversity and see it as a sign we are going about things the wrong way. When you get to the end of this series and enter the Magic Zone, it is my aim for readers to discover a much easier way to be, to do, to think and to feel.
So right now, if you are feeling 'out of the zone’ the best thing you can do is to say “Thank You!” Thank whoever might be your god, or just the Universe, for bringing this realisation to your attention. •
Next: The Performance Zone »
Renaissance Man and Imagineer Tom Evans is the author of four books and counting about creativity. More »