In the beginning, most psychological research focused on the negatives...
Specifically, researchers spent all their time trying to find out what was wrong with someone mentally or emotionally.
Then, at some point, a transition occurred... More folks started wondering why so much time and effort went into studying what was wrong about people with mental or emotional problems instead of what was right about people without any troubles.
In other words, researchers started to look at the positives.
What is the psychology behind success? What is the psychology behind what people do?
As part of that shift in focus, psychologists studied people 'in the zone'...
That's exactly as it sounds. It's when people are so focused on something that they forget about time and everything going on around them.
Being "in the zone" is often associated with artists, musicians, and athletes...
For example, the New York Jets' Joe Namath was one of the first NFL quarterbacks to get in the zone. He won Super Bowl III in 1969, upsetting the heavily favored Baltimore Colts.
Many times over the years, Namath said his best games were the ones in which he didn't feel like he was playing at all. Instead, it felt like the game was playing itself through him.
That's a prime example of being in the zone. And it shows the flow of positive psychology.
Positive psychology can apply to work, too...
When you're doing analysis or working on a project, it's important to be in the zone. And that requires thinking positively about the topic at hand.
No matter what it is, you need to focus on the present moment – not the past or the future. It's all about the right mindset. By doing that, you'll set yourself up for success.
Sometimes, we all need to work on things we don't really enjoy. But even in those cases, by staying focused and present on the task at hand, we learn how to stay in the flow and succeed.
When you do that, you're training yourself to remain disciplined. It doesn't matter if it's physical or mental, either...
Take weightlifting, for example. Everyone can lift at different levels. But even if you're lifting the lightest weight available in the gym, it's important to maintain the perfect form.
If you use the perfect form every time, you'll reduce potential for injury to the lowest possible level. You'll also increase the likelihood of getting stronger when you do increase the weight for training.
Then, when it's time to move to heavier weights, your mind and body will come together and do the needed work. Just thinking that you can do your best "when the time comes" doesn't actually fly with the reality of success.
For another example, after a seminar or in-house training event, I sometimes find myself sweeping the floor, taking out the garbage, or rearranging the chairs.
That might sound mundane or trivial. But it's important...
I sweep the floor to the best of my ability. I sweep as if it's the only thing to do. In fact, in that moment, I tell myself that I'm going to be the best floor sweeper that a sweepers guild might ask for!
Obviously, floor sweeping doesn't matter as much to my audience as the content I delivered that day. But the key point is buried in that floor sweeping...
The mental aspect and the focus of being in the zone, no matter what, is something that can be practiced even with mundane tasks – with really light weights, so to speak.
By being your best – being in the zone – regularly and with any task at hand, you create a mindset for being the best at the things that matter most. That's the gateway to success.
And of course, when investing, it's critical to be in the zone...
Fearful and greedy investors make for bad investors.
That's especially true when following the crowd. That's the opposite of being in the zone.
Most investors dwell too much on fears of the past and present. Instead, they should be focused on the data at hand. Emotional stories drive bad investor habits – such as the mainstream media's sensationalist, "sky is falling" headlines.
By focusing on the present and staying in the zone, successful investors make decisions based on reliable market signals and time-tested patterns. They aren't thrown off by unfounded fear and greed of the past and future.
Whether it's in sports, work, weightlifting, floor sweeping, or investing... get in the zone.
It requires more focus. But it will make you a better performer in whatever you do.
As always, I wish you all love, joy, and peace,
July 8, 2022