Traveling changes mind (and life!)
How many times have you had a problem in your hands and don’t know how to solve it? Think and think again, give up everything and go for a walk. Don’t think about it anymore, at least for a moment. Then, as you walk, here is the idea suddenly: the right solution has suddenly appeared, almost by magic and you don’t even know why. Your mind simply picked up a solution you hadn’t noticed before. What happens in the brain?
Being in the flow.
This phenomenon was investigated by the Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi, who in the seventies began studying the performances of some great artists and sportsmen, such as Pelé, elaborating what will be known as the flow theory, or the state of consciousness in which we find ourselves when we are completely immersed in an activity.
On June 29, 1958 Pelé, the pseudonym of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, becomes the youngest player to play in the World Cup: he is 17 years old and during the final, in the Solna stadium in Stockholm, he scores two goals that will go down in history.
The very young future O Rei takes the field and scores the first goal in the 55th minute, with a lob to jump Gustavsson; the last goal in the 90th minute, headed.
Brazil ends the game with a famous 5-2 and wins the World Cup. It will be the record, still unbeaten, for the
younger scorer (Pelé is 17 and 249 days) and the oldest scorer (Liedholm, 35) in a World Cup final.
The match will be remembered as the World Cup final with the most goals scored (7).
No, I’m not a soccer expert: I care about the mind and the unknown potential inside each of us.
“In the zone”, here is the sense of the state of flow. When we find ourselves in this state of mind, we are in
a very high level of concentration: so high that it can even happen to experience total calm while chaos is all around us.
Time stands still. We are inside the action, intense, total.
We are no longer there, we simply transform ourselves into pure action: present here and now, immersed in the moment.
“It was no longer me,” Pelé said in an interview, and like him many athletes and artists. The loss of the sense of time and self, or rather the expansion of oneself into a larger field, becomes concentration, absolute presence, conscious fullness.
It is with similar words that sporting champions such as Pelé and Michael Jordan, authors and artists have described the way they felt during an intense performance.
Seize the moment, live
Something similar happens on the journey. Yes, because the state of flow is a level of the mind that each of us experiences. It happens when we find ourselves fully immersed in the creative process. The bar of our limits is lowered, suddenly the infinite universe of a wider possibility in which we get lost seems to open up, intoxicated. Suddenly the feeling is that everything is flowing and we too, along with this wave that we don’t know where it will take us.
We feel more free. We dare. Simply … we accept to let ourselves go and become pure action. The resulting sensation is one of safety, presence, effectiveness. Let’s stop (finally!) To think, let’s start
How do you use your time?
The number of information our brain receives from the environment is an incredibly high amount, here is one of the reasons why the internet is an additional problem for our concentration.
The problem does not concern devices and computers, but our easy “enchant”, just as it used to be told in fairy tales in which the protagonist gets stuck by a spell. Our attention is weak and the human brain can only handle a certain number of information, this leads us to go easily “in crisis”, an overload of tension that in some cases risks making us burst … or lose.
This means that learning to use technology in a conscious way is becoming an increasingly important issue, which asks us to find new solutions and new methods, thinking of work tools that did not exist before. We need to be able to concentrate and do well within the limits of what we have available.
Traveling … is a state of mind
Traveling to me happens to have another type of scan of the day compared to the newspaper. If I’m in one place I’m curious to explore the surroundings and cut out moments to do it. I take a coffee in an unknown square, I observe those around me; even when I’m around for work I can’t escape the temptation to take a walk, mix with people walking, understand how the city is made step by step, taste flavors and atmospheres.
Then, I look at the clock: incredible, at the end of the day I realize that I managed to complete all the work and I also left enough time to go and discover a new place, have a chat, have a coffee, move and walk in the green.
Enjoy the spirit of the place.
At home, in the usual routine, I often find myself having more time … and using it less effectively. Why does traveling seem to live a double life? In a sense it really happens.
Every day is a new journey
When we live positive emotions we are more curious, open, present. Finding effective solutions means facing life finding answers to our needs and … instead of calling them “problems” start to see them as”issues”.
Every day we are faced with new questions to ask ourselves: a courageous and beautiful adventure that can become a challenge capable of evolving what we are. Exactly what the trip does. As we move, in space, we face the unknown in us: we learn to evaluate situations and observe what surrounds us, make decisions quickly, deviate from habit and have a new look. We learn to listen to our instinct, which in everyday life often ends up being suffocated by conventions and by what others expect from us.
On the road the problem solving abilities increase and even the obstacles we find on the way, along the kilometers as in life, can become a great starting point to have a laugh, reflect … or sometimes, simply change course. This also happens on the road to the world and to life: the courage to change direction is what makes us wise, balanced human beings able to find new positive solutions for their own survival. “Only the dead and the stupid never change opinion,” reads a famous quotation from the poet and critic James
He, who had graduated in law at the prestigious Harvard University and who will abandon the jurisprudence for letters, sided against slavery in late nineteenth-century America by choosing poetry as an instrument of education and struggle. Lives like his perhaps remind us of this too, that living from a dream is possible. Changing the world is starting to change our horizon: the little world that we inhabit every day. Traveling teaches us to get out of habit, transform the day and go into the unknown.
Because facing fears can be (even) terribly funny and, in the end, let us discover that life is an adventure, it is every day when we are ready to wake up from the routine to get into the action, here and now.