Do you remember when you were a kid and you did things just because…just because it was fun…just because you wanted to? Maybe it was playing sports or a musical instrument. Do you remember those moments? And then someone comes along and says, “Oh, you’re really good, to get better you should set a goal and practice every day.”
Did you ever notice how when that happens, all of a sudden, it no longer seems as fun? In fact, it became almost like it was work or a chore. And since it was no longer fun, we didn’t perform as well and maybe stopped playing altogether.
So what happened in those moments when all the fun was squeezed out of the playing? In part, we stepped out of the moment, we got out of the flow and we began to think about what we were doing rather than just doing what we were doing.
For kids, their play time is their work time. Child psychologists suggest that it’s not just play for the kids, that to them it is their work and it’s how they integrate, use, and test all of the things they’re learning about the world. And when they are in that moment, they are totally focused and in the flow. They aren’t thinking about whether they’re doing it right, or how many other things they need to do as well, they’re absorbed in the moment.
As adults, we don’t really lose that ability but we often suppress it. We find ourselves doing our daily tasks but we’re not in the moment. We’re thinking about what we just did, what we’re about to do, or we’re thinking about how well we’re doing what we’re doing.
And it is not that you never want to think about these things; you just want to decide if it is best to be thinking about what you’re doing versus simply doing it. Think back to times of high performance in your life. Chances are you had laser-like focus, minimized distractions and you weren’t thinking about what you needed to do…you just did it.
So as you go throughout your day, notice whether you are in the moment or if you’re off somewhere else. If something else is using up your mental bandwidth, deal with that particular issue or write it down so that you can free up that distraction and increase your focus. Sometimes, if you want more results, you have to get out of your mind and into the moment!
Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.
– Denis Waitley