Thursday, August 13, 2009

More on the "Zone"

You cannot make yourself enter the "zone" Best you can do is set the scene. This includes hard work, both technical and mental training, pre and post-game routines, and passion (for the game)

The following are not my words. Rather they are the words of a psychologist by the name of Csíkszentmihályi (pronounce it “chicks send me high” :)). I include the link toa public lecture he made in Sydney a few years back.

He identifies the following nine components as accompanying an experience of flow:
  1. Clear goals (expectations and rules are discernible and goals are attainable and align appropriately with one's skill set and abilities). Moreover, the challenge level and skill level should both be high.
  2. Concentrating and focusing, a high degree of concentration on a limited field of attention (a person engaged in the activity will have the opportunity to focus and to delve deeply into it).
  3. A loss of the feeling of self-consciousness, the merging of action and awareness.
  4. Distorted sense of time, one's subjective experience of time is altered.
  5. Direct and immediate feedback (successes and failures in the course of the activity are apparent, so that behavior can be adjusted as needed).
  6. Balance between ability level and challenge (the activity is neither too easy nor too difficult).
  7. A sense of personal control over the situation or activity.
  8. The activity is intrinsically rewarding, so there is an effortlessness of action.
  9. People become absorbed in their activity, and focus of awareness is narrowed down to the activity itself, action and awareness merging.


  1. There have been a lot of athletes who have been in "the zone." Michael Jordan comes to mind. I think he hit 7 three-pointers during the 1992 NBA Fianls against Portland. I think it's as if the player is just doing it without thinking about it.

  2. "one's subjective experience of time is altered."

    Does it pass more quickly or does it slow down?

    I've read the people who ride motorcycles experience the "flow."

  3. It is neither one or the other.
    In my post on "think about it", I talk about the ball player and how the time can be slower. But the key theme is that through the lost of self-consciousness, our perception of the word, including time, changes according to the need of the moment. I believe the concept of flow may be originated in Zen budhism (I may read up on this some time).
    Good one the bike rides. It would be easier to immerge yourself in the scenery driving a bike that it would be in a car.