This post must be read in conjunction with my first post IN THE ZONE-- dated 2nd Dec 2010. The "yellow sweet spot Zone" is just part of the Flow channel.
When i was in 9th Standard of school, I was representing my school at the District schools sports meet in 200 metres dash . The standard of athletics in my state of Kerala is the best in the whole of India.
There were to be 8 heats, and i was 2nd in my own heat. The problem was , that some over aged athletes were participating in my younger Intermediate group, by fudging their age group..
I had NOT yet started to shave, but most of the guys who were participating along with me had rough stubbles and hairy armpits.
The guy who beat me in the heats was a ugly stocky tribal type of character, and I sort of looked down on him. But i learnt a valuable lesson , from him which i remember even today , after 41 years.
He was participating in shot put , as he was a very muscular guy. But he was NOT yet in the top 5 after 2 throws. So i psyched him " You look, stronger than the others, then why are lagging at 6th position? "
He said " I have my 100 metres finals coming up, now. I will come first in this race, then run over here , and throw for Gold in shot put. I will be in a STATE OF FLOW ".
I was amazed at his confidence.
So i watched him win the gold in the 100 metres dash in bare feet , and watched him run up to the shot put pit, and throw the metal ball so far ahead of the competition, that the contest was dead!.
To cut a long story shot, this boy got the gold in the 200 metres too, and I managed to secure the bronze.
Since then I knew what it means to be IN THE FLOW from a gorilla type, no class, tribal boy.
I am grateful to him. This post is dedicated to him.
In a state of flow, self consciousness disappears. You are too involved in the activity and your ego takes a backseat. You feel connected to something larger than yourself. You are on the crest of a intuitive high. It is a paradox, that in this state of flow, by letting go, you strengthen your self. You don't lose mental energy in how you appear to others. Time flies and your sense of time gets distorted.
After winning the race, the run up to the shot put pit would have been a sort of victory lap for the gorilla. At this time his left brain lobe will be sleeping , while his right lobe would be spiking like hell, in addition to the chemical adrenaline release. When he lifted the metal ball for the throw, his mind would have been blank,as if he did not exist, and he would be in a sort of ecstatic feel mode.
THE HALLMARK OF FLOW IS THIS FEELING OF SPONTANEOUS JOY- NAY- RAPTURE.
Your attention is undivided and your awareness merges with your action. You are now inside the waterfall of the flow, highly aligned with the task in hand. There is NIL anxiety.
Knowing how to be in the flow, gives athletes the winning edge. Sports psychology is all about knowing how to trigger this state.
You know what has to be done, and you are doing it. You are engaged by the challenge , but NOT overwhelmed. You find a good match between the demands of the situation and your own innate ability.
Grace and peace!
CAPT AJIT VADAKAYIL