The Flow; How Do You Get In The Zone?

Holidays bug me sometimes.  Today is President’s Day.  Virtually everything in my world is shut down.  My wife and I were talking to another couple the other night, and one thing we were talking about was the zone.  The flow.

Here is an example of flow. Curry was in the zone and making these shots became effortless.

One way to get into flow is to have ritual. Habits. Put together a series of good habits that cause you to have a chance at success. I think that one of the interesting things about the digital age is all the information and connectivity. We are on call 24/7.

That same technology totally distracts us.

It’s super easy to get distracted today. Before, you had to work at it and look around or daydream. Now all I have to do is pull up a webpage or look at Twitter.

When I was playing sports, I always had rituals that I did. I can remember shooting hoops in practice and stringing off jumpshot after jumpshot. You knew from the feel of the ball on your fingertips that it was in. Rip, rip, rip, the feedback the sound the net gave you was so awesome in a quiet gym. When I traded, I was extremely ritualistic about how I went about my day. When I analyze companies to invest in, there are certain things I always do.

When you hit a bad streak, failure, you’d have to examine what you were doing to see if there was a way to change it to change outcomes. Or, sometimes, it was just an outlier condition that caused you to fail and you’d continue.

Anger and Fear can take you out of the flow. Emotions are powerful. Overt sentimentality and other emotions can take you out of the flow too. It’s not that you have to be unemotional. That’s impossible. We are human. But, you have to manage them.

Once you find the flow, you do everything you can to stay in it. You need to block out all distractions. I go to great pains to keep my brain clear. Sometimes, people wanting to meet or talk can disrupt the flow. You need to minimize it. Block out special time to take care of those things so you can concentrate on the task at hand.

People are amazed when they see how chaotic floor trading was. How did one concentrate? For me it was easy.

Today, I have certain things that I try to do every morning that put me in the zone. What do you do to put yourself in the zone so you are focused and prepared to take advantage of things in your day?

  • awaldstein

    As important, how do you break habits that are not getting you where you need to go.

    I’m doing a lot of that now. Personally especially and likewise my dive into Brene Brown over the weekend. http://awe.sm/wRBF

    • Habits become unconscious. You don’t think about them and they become ingrained. Breaking them requires you to think about them, and how you approach everything. Sort of like Yoga. At first, it’s just to move outer muscles-just to even get into he position. Then, it starts to go deeper, and eventually you are really working on your mind.