The Gatorade commercial from the 1990s featuring Michael Jordan that had people saying “I’d like to be like Mike” was sensationally popular because it tapped into the same thing: our desire to get in the zone, which during that era was embodied most visibly by MJ on the basketball court.
Likewise, the comparably popular Nike golf commercial where a diverse group of people spoke the same line “I am Tiger Woods” targeted exactly the same psychology. Tiger dominated the game of golf so thoroughly in the early 2000s that he single-handedly made golf cool – almost. No mean feat. So how did he do it? Because in Tiger Woods the golfer we saw someone completely in the zone, dominating not just the golf course and the field but also the apparent limitations of body and mind. It's a deeply alluring trait.
The zone, known as flow in psychology circles, is so attractive that we will happily live vicariously through someone who we see in it, like Tiger or Michael. Flow liberates the spirit from the confines of the body and mind so completely that people often describe the experience as out-of-body and as being unconscious. The result is nothing short of euphoria. Even when the experience is second hand we still feel it and love it.
But we don't have to rely on others to feel that thrill. Everyone can get in the flow, not just ultra-elite performers. In fact, there are as many entry points to the flow as there are individuals.
Enter flow by following your passion. Search your past and identify an activity you have found so engaging that minutes passed like seconds or hours like minutes. It will have involved these four elements: 1. your skills, 2. values, 3. interests and 4. a challenge.
Finding your entry to the flow is that simple. However, there aren't very many qualifying experiences. That scarcity contributes to its value, so appreciate it.
For more insights from science and experience read Flow: The Psychology of Optimum Experience.
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BODY – MIND – SPIRIT