Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Zone

There have been some things in my life that I have been particularly passionate about. They were usually (but not always) activities that I possessed some aptitude for. I had, for whatever reason, a natural talent and certain skills and was drawn to the crafts that best utilized them. When everything was clicking, I could do no wrong – I was in “the zone.” It was not a very wide zone, however, as more often than not, as soon as I realized I was in it, I was out.

Sometimes the skills needed were acquired due to a passion and other times the skills were present and the passion was driven from being good at something. I am quite sure that at many other periods there was simply a lack of synchronicity; the passion did not develop the skill or the talent remained hidden until the moment was gone. It was a phenomenon I unwittingly summed up in a phrase I used repeatedly… “I guess I just missed my calling.”

As in, it wasn’t my fault. I didn’t know. The timing just wasn’t right. I didn’t receive the exposure, the encouragement, the support - the “fill in the blank here.” I was, apparently, cursed. Doomed to failure – I just couldn’t get it right. As a result, I never found that “perfect” job. I could not get motivated for any length of time. There was never any pot of gold, no green acres and no happily ever after. I was just doing time. Good enough turned into never enough – I could not find satisfaction and there was no peace.

Today and for quite a little time now, this has not been the case. I am quite sure this didn’t turn around overnight, but the realizations that things are not the same come to me in waves. I’ll be doing something, anything… sometimes nothing at all and it’ll hit me: I’m in the zone! Furthermore, I have been here for a long time. The kicker? It’s not an accident, there is no happy coincident… it didn’t “just happen.” It has absolutely nothing to do with talent, skill, or anything externally manifested. It is entirely an inside job.

I have said it before and I’m saying it again: attitude is the key. There is nothing magical about it and it is not something that can be given or taken away. I have a “can do” attitude because I do do. I know I can get it done because I get it done. I know the facts because I studied them. I am in a place right now that it matters little what I am doing, I give it my all because anything less only short-changes myself. If I’m going to do it, I’m all in.

I know that if I were flipping burgers, I’d be the best burger flipper around. I can “see” myself smiling and flipping them. The same goes for anything I set myself to do. I wouldn’t be doing it if I weren’t somehow driven. Be it financial need, to keep busy or just simply being of some kind of service, I would have my mind set in such a way that that “thing” I have set out to do would carry the same importance as everything I’m doing right now. I would not derive any satisfaction otherwise.

My life needs purpose. I was, however, confused about what it was, how it would be manifested and how to figure it out. As it turns out, none of that matters. My purpose is not predestined, it is not predefined – it does not have to find me. My destiny is up to me and I can get as excited about it as I choose. It is attitude dependant and attitude driven. My calling therefore, is not actually calling me. It is I that must do the calling.


UltimateWriter said...

Yeah. It seems like people are always searching for that one purpose in life. But I think purposes are ever changing (dare I say evolving), sometimes even on a daily basis depending on what situation and people you are surrounded by.

Ellen said...

I concur with ultimatewriter... each day brings a new zone, and a new approach. But you're right, it is all about attitude that gets you through it, and on with life.

Every once in awhile I do find myself saying, "I'm on top of the world, Ma!"... just so I don't lose my sense of humor.

I am glad to see that you have a zone where you can be the best darned *this* or *that*... more people could take an example from it!

Bar L. said...

I agree that attitudes can be life-changing and powerful - in either direction they go. I am inspired by your "can-do" positive outlook. Thank you.

mckay said...

"My destiny is up to me and I can get as excited about it as I choose."

well said. my parenting habit is to ingrain in my little one that everyday we get to make choices. it's a concept that in essence is so simple, yet many fail to grasp.

mckay said...


nice eschers.

Kathleen Jennette said...

The Zone can be anything-anywhere. The place where you are is just that...that place where you are... and to make the best of it is a choice you make to be there. Its like that old saying "I wanna be like that when I grow up"... does one ever grow up? What is growing up anyway? I think its just where you are suppose to be... here and now.

Nice post. I liked it...

WooleyBugger said...

I feel the Zone sometimes. And I often find it to be short lived. Not that it is bad it's just...bam! Your in it and on top of the world, everything is going great and all of a sudden it's moved on. The cool thing is that it will be back when you least expect it. Sort of like the expectation of climbing the slope on a roller coaster. When you reach the top and the coaster begins that sharpe decent, your senses are all intune and having a great time. Wow! What a ride.

JR said...

I don't often comment on your posts because I usually go off on a tangent in my head to ponder what you've written, but this post clicked quicker for me, so I thought I'd share something I observed last night about attitude. A group of friends get together about once every 2-3 months for Karoke night at a local bar. Last night when we gathered, I noticed the best performers were not the best singers, but those with the best attitude. They were having a blast up there and wanted you to join in. The whole bar would sing along with them and the mood of the room changed. There would be other times, with better singers, and songs just as easy to sing along with, but most people weren't paying attention. They'd talk with their buddies, go get another drink, go to the bathroom, whatever. It was a good example to me that if you give something your all, you put your heart and soul into it and do the best job you can just because you love what you're doing, it will show. I'll try to remember that the next time I get up to sing. No holding back and being timid, let 'er rip and have a blast with the song. :-)