Several years ago, I was playing golf in Phoenix, Arizona. As I stood, ready to tee off at the first hole, a little prairie dog stuck his head up from a nearby hole, looked at me, and began to chatter madly. I was amused by this little creature and how seemingly unafraid he was of me.
As I stood taking a couple of warm up swings with my golf club, he continued his chattering. At that point I began to wonder what he was communicating to me. Was he criticizing my stance or swing? Was he telling me to leave his domain? Or was he doing what came naturally to him; making noises.
I realized that the little prairie dog is a lot like my chattering mind. There are times when my mind seems to go off in many directions, thinking about many things and worrying about others. Sometimes it is like that little animal that seemed insistent upon chattering mindlessly.
Although I’ve not played golf recently, I remember that I would first mentally talk myself through the proper stance and swing. As I withdrew my attention from everything around me and focused only on my mental routine, I found that my golf shots were longer, straighter, and higher than they had ever been. The improvement came from focusing and limiting my self-talk to instructions about what I wanted, and not what I didn’t want. I was effectively in “the zone.”
Being in “the zone” is a term that is used in sports to identify the experience described above. As I thought about this, it occurred to me that I am in the zone during other activities, such as writing. It is here that I must tune out all distractions quieting my chattering prairie dog, which is not as cute or entertaining as the real one. I realize that I can consciously choose to be in the zone during the times that I feel so mentally scattered and disorganized.
When I played golf, I make the decision to focus because I want good results from my efforts. I can choose to tune out the noisy chatter of inner and outer voices, and go to a place where I can program for a successful outcome.
There is an adage that I recall often, “where the focus goes, the energy flows.” It seems to me that a lot of that powerful mental energy is lost when my focus is scattered. Each and every moment it is my choice which master I will serve; that of focus and control, or the one that is scattered to the winds. I think that I will focus on the first master. I get more distance and accuracy with it.
Affirmation for the Week:
“I am focused and in control of my inner chattering prairie dog.”
Have a focused week!
Mary “Motivator” Rau-Foster