There is a lot of research around being in flow state or being in the zone, which happens when tackling difficult challenges that push to the upper levels applying skills and abilities. When in flow state, time disappears and a feeling of complete immersion and complete focus ensures.
It’s most commonly experienced by people doing extreme sports and racing cars. These people are often referred to as “adrenaline junkies” as they continue to chase bigger and bigger thrills and pursuits.
Although I am not one to get my hit of adrenaline from physical dangers, I absolutely get my fix from ever increasing levels of difficult and complicated challenges. I recently realized that my default mode during periods of high intensity is to go into full out command and control.
I get in the zone with focused tunnel vision on all the if/then scenarios with a “set ‘em up and knock ‘em down” mentality. I get a surge of energy from a reserve tank deep down from somewhere that keeps driving me long after I’m both mentally and physically exhausted.
My levels of empathy and caring for small talk and how people are doing/feeling go waaaay down. I get really, super annoyed if people aren’t keeping up with my line of thinking, aren’t understanding the things I’m doing, or ask a lot of questions…all of which are completely unrealistic expectations on my part.
It’s strange because it’s such an invigorating feeling, but I know it is also a very dangerous one for me. Pretty much everything else disappears from my world, and I can’t really think about anything else or even sleep well. I have to be very careful to not stay hyper-focused or obsessive for too long to avoid any major damage to myself, family, friends, and colleagues. But man, does it feel good.
Hi, my name is Derek Weber and I am a Mental Adrenaline Junky.
There is nothing more invigorating than taking on a huge initiative and pushing past the point of adversity that most others would cave…than having that last piece of the puzzle fall into place that makes the whole thing work.
But I have found for me, there has to be a balance. I can surge ahead giving everything I’ve got carving new paths way out in front of everyone, but then I must stop, catch my breath, refill my tank, and spend time building bridges to get everyone else caught up and aligned.
…before setting out on yet another great adventure!!
What areas of your life require metering to stay within a healthy zone?
Where are you able to achieve flow state and get in the zone?