Over at the 99 Percent blog they’ve got a very interesting interview with Garret Kramer, a man who’s 20 year research with top level athletes has led him to write a book called Stillpower: The Inner Source of Athletic Excellence. In the interview below Kramer talks about athletes and how they get in zone, but as I was reading this I realized how when songwriting, artists get in the same zone and how often we “try” and finish a song rather than letting it finish itself, if ya dig.
From your experience, what makes for a great competitor?
….despite the desire to win, these competitors remain open to all possible outcomes; win or lose, they know they’ll be perfectly okay. What arises out of this is a level of consciousness that let’s them excel. They see opportunities, follow their passions, and feel an ease in their day-to-day lives. They’re simply following their instincts.
Is this the infamous “in the zone” state that we hear so much about?
…The zone is not about trying hard. You can’t force it. The zone feels effortless because you’re operating at a higher state of consciousness. Although athletes in the zone are incredibly locked in, their focus is never forced.
…Most of the athletes I work with tell me that when they find the zone they simply “let go” and just absorb themselves in the present moment. It’s a selfless experience.
What do you tell them when they fall out of this state?
….Once you grasp that fundamental concept you realize that willpower will not help you. You’re not capable in the moment. The more we try to control our effort (or our thoughts about effort), the more we tend to get in our own way – and reduce our odds for success. So I encourage my clients to step back and use a term I call “stillpower,” which means don’t push ahead but rather be still. The feelings that come will be of ease, clarity, and responsiveness. It sounds crazy. I mean, do nothing? Yes. Do not make any decisions from a low mindset – just be still. What if we simply took our foot off the gas pedal? Our thoughts and mood would settle, and we would see the same challenges as opportunities. (More here)