There is a certain ability that long-suffering Harry masters during his final year at Hogwarts. Unfortunately, he doesn’t acquire this skill until the Wizarding World is literally being torn apart at the seams. Any Potterhead worth his or her salt knows that I’m talking about the art of Occlumency. It’s the ability to maintain focus when someone is literally inside your head. The skill required to shut out that mental invasion, and maintain concentration, is what Harry was able to eventually accomplish.
Sports movies are chock full of examples of that kind of focus. In For The Love Of The Game, Kevin Costner is able to make the background noise and crowd disappear completely until there are only him, the batter and the catcher left. The Legend of Bagger Vance has a similar scene as Matt Damon lines up his crucial putt. Everything vanishes except for Will Smith, the pin, and the hole. To me, the ability to shoot a clutch free throw, when it seems like the whole crowd has collectively lost its mind, has always seemed like a Herculean Feat. Did you see that kid from Virginia on Saturday? He knocked down three free throws to get his team to the National Championship Game for the first time in the school’s history. Talk about having ice water in your veins!
We all have this ability to a certain degree. If you’ve ever witnessed a video gamer trying to beat an incredibly tough level, you have seen that type of focus. Or, maybe you’ve observed a preschooler, with her brow furrowed and lip curled, as she tries to finish coloring a special picture for her mommy. Many of us have had experiences when we were in the zone. I noticed this feeling many years ago at my previous job when I would be asked to write up some documentation for a new procedure. When you have fine-tuned that ability, you can truly shut out all distractions and stay focused on the job at hand. However, be careful not to get lost in that world. It’s an incredible skill to have, but keep in mind it is just one tool in your toolbox of life. Don’t forget to pick your head up, take a deep breath, and smell the roses once in a while.
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