PART 7: FOCUSING ON THE PRESENT
As cliché as it might sound, when we’re in flow, we’re living in the moment.
With all of our senses and concentration dedicated to real-time actions and feedback, we don't have the capacity to consider what came before or what might come next.
These distractions can easily slip into our minds though and it’s a good idea to understand how they can be derailing to our performance.
You might think comparisons to our previous performances would be helpful as a guide to let us know how we are doing.
However, this thinking has a habit of leading us down a path where we begin giving up too much of our attention on past achievements rather than the here and now.
The only kind of past worthy of our attention is what has literally just happened. We need to be operating in a frame by frame time period, acknowledge what’s going well, or not going well and making split second adjustments accordingly.
A good start to a run does not guarantee a good finish. Taking your mind off the ball can cause complacency and costly slip-ups.
Maintaining focus, paying attention to the conditions, your equipment and your body is the only sure way to maintain momentum and hold flow. The minute we begin thinking about the finish line, or the glory that comes from making the descent, we open ourselves up for failure.
How To Maintain And Regain Focus
Rogue thoughts will always enter our minds, but it’s important to know how to deal with them and more importantly, have tactics to regain your focus on the task in hand.
Knowing you’ve lost focus is half the battle here and having something to bring your attention back to is key to regaining flow. This could be your breathing, your speed, or how your edges feel biting into the snow.
It doesn't really matter what it is, the important thing is to have something tangible that is directly related to your current performance.
We’ve talked before about task goals and how breaking your run, or your descent into small manageable markers. This can also work to regain your focus as task goals force you to evaluate your position and focus on the next hurdle approaching.
Keep It Simple
Simplicity is key to achieving flow. Rather than thinking about the end goal or outcome of the pursuit, you should instead focus on the individual task that will be required of you to get there, and forget about the end result.
Here and now, you might need to ride out the landing from a small cliff drop, and thinking about the traverse further down the mountain is more likely to hinder than help you.
Keep things simple, one thing at a time and roll through the motions of the process. This allows you to become totally immersed in your activity and start feeling the exciting benefits of being in a flow state.