Alan C. Walters, an author and motivational expert, has often been “in the zone.” He calls it the Golden Magic Zone.
In his book, The Secrets to Increasing Your Wealth, Power, and Happiness, he describes one of his remarkable experiences.
Once I wanted to purchase an airplane, a turbo-charged Beech Bonanza, that cost $38,000; I had $3,000.
I circled the advertisement in red ink and thought, “How am I going to turn this $3,000 into $38,000?”
An idea flashed to mind: Play Blackjack!
It was a Sunday morning. I got into my car and drove 280 miles to John Ascuga’s Nugget in Sparks, Nevada, a suburb of Reno.
I sat down with two other people at a table that had a $400 a hand limit. I cashed my $3,000 for chips and bet $400 on two positions.
I played for twenty minutes and bought cards three times by double downing an ace, two, and received an eight each time.
I hit blackjack twenty-three times in twenty minutes; I had a huge pile of chips. The first time I lost a hand, I quit.
Picking up my chips and taking them to the cashier, I found I had won $58,000; I had $46,000 after taxes.
I purchased the Bonanza for $34,000, cash.
On my first flight, I blew the engine over Aurora, Oregon. Looking down, I saw a small airport. It had no radio, so I landed with great billows of black smoke pouring from the engine. I didn’t know where I was, and the airport was surrounded by trees and hedges.
With several taxiways disappearing into the trees, something made me choose a taxiway toward the south end of the field.
As I taxied between those trees, I saw an old, broken-down shed. I stopped the plane in front of the shed, climbed out and walked through the front door. There I saw an elderly man putting away tools.
“Is there anyone at this airport who really understands turbo-Bonanzas?” I asked.
The man smiled. “Well,” he drawled. “Up until last week, I was the foreman and head mechanic of Bonanza West, over at Portland Airport.”
Amazing! (I was in the right place at the right time).
I had him replace the engine and do a complete overhaul of the plane. It cost $12,400, the exact amount I had left from my winnings. I flew that plane for ten years and never had another problem.
What are the factors that create this unique experience?
Dr. Perry Mitchell, a psychologist and public speaker, has identified some critical elements that can help anyone step into the zone.
Since what you focus on expands, you get into BONANZAJP the zone when you naturally capitalize on your strengths and get over your mistakes quickly.
If you enjoy what you do, you will effortlessly create a momentum that can carry you into the zone, a state where you are focused, relaxed, and self-trusting.
People rarely enter the zone because they completely believe in two myths about success.
One is that to do well you have to work hard. The result of this, of course, is that since you want to do well to succeed, you believe that working harder and harder will get you closer and closer to your goal. What it does, however, is increase pressure, anxiety, and fear. Instead of doing better, you actually do worse as you fatigue and tense up.
Another myth is that pain is good. It has been particularly popularized in sports with the slogan, “no pain, no gain.” Again, increasing pain results in a state of exhaustion and the cessation of effort toward your goal.
These myths are so ingrained in the collective unconsciousness that most people operate on them without even noticing them. They feel that they are not making progress unless they feel a sense of strain and effort. And they doubt if something can be good for them if it doesn’t cause discomfort.
What keeps these two myths operating is what Dr. Mitchell calls the “Critical Advisor.” In Freudian terms, this would be the Super-Ego. It is an ego state that is omnipresent and works on you by making you doubt anything and everything, especially your own self-worth. It is your inner map of how you should be and persistently criticizes you for not measuring up. It considers negative motivation to be necessary for your success.
To get into the zone, you have to shut off the Critical Advisor and get into the “Hands Free Zone.” This term is based on an analogy. When you are riding a bicycle without holding the handlebars, you’re in the “hands free zone.”