The focus and the concentration and the attention to detail that flying takes is a kind of meditation. I find it restful and engaging, and other things slip away. -Harrison Ford

Well said, Indiana Solo, well said. The Falcon had that effect on ALL of us.

It DID  all sort of fade away, you know?  All sound. All distraction. Eye catchers, drift magnets, time leeches disappeared this morning, as I hunkered down to own material in my office like I haven’t since third grade.  Make that fifth grade– you know when they MAKE you learn all 50 states, their capitals, mottos, birds, trees, flowers, and flags? Mr. McCandless at Stony Lane elementary, your tutelage until now was limited to my shocking the Shizzle out of friends during Trivial Pursuit.

Regressing, digressing, walking away from that gong show of a paragraph, it’s another lesson as today was a success in concentration, focus, and drive.

Man, is it fleeting.

Already writing this blog I’ve checked Facebook 12 times, taunted friends about procreation and Googled the set list of the album Chicago 17 by Chicago. Putting away all distractions and just getting work done, son took effort.

Learning the words, the plays, the exercises took drills, took practice. The same way I learned the states and such:

  • I repeated each sentence as I read it as fast as I could 25 times each, keeping tally on a whiteboard, with a chess-clock running, and recording the practice for review, and keeping an eye on body language and Lebon movements
  • After each page, I’d repeat glancing at notes 10 times, then from memory towards camera 10 times until I could do it from memory. Each 12 pages took roughly 45 minutes, with the first section totally 96 pages
  • Yikes. That reads Tim Ferris-y. Ferris-like. Save Ferris. You can read what I was up against, eh?

I’ve taught and learned scripts, policy, theory, and strategy this way my whole life. It’s not glamorous, there’s no silver or magic bullet, and certainly no magic silver bullet, save for the one that  starred  Corey Haim where a kid in a wheelchair defeats a werewolf. (Also had Gary Busey in it, stunning)

You gotta say it out loud, or you’re just reading, folks.   You go through this trance where the words have no meaning in the beginning, then you start to get into a rhythm of how it should sound to connect with the listener, years of being trained by marketing and TV Newscasters runs through your mind. Books on tape you once thought were the easy way out are now raising their hands in your subconscious saying ” holy crow, he LEARNED something.”   Yes, it sounds weird.  Better during practice than in front of a client.

Keep Score of your practice. Helps you see where you are, what you’ve done. If you’re not a carpenter or a builder, sometimes it’s hard to leave work with your chin up when you don’t have a barn to look back on and say, “Hey man, nice barn I built.”

And you’re tempted to short cut. You test your integrity as to how close you’re going to learn it, and whether the rest of the office will wait for you to go to lunch. You skip lunch.

And you skip lunch because you’ve gotten in the zone, you’re finally unlearning the words because you’ve learned them so well.

A mentor and a good friend used a great teaching moment with me (read: slight reaming) on poor presentation. Paraphrasing, he said you need to know the material, inside and out, so you that you CAN stick to it. It’s powerful enough as it’s prepared, and WHEN you’re prepared.

“Don’t make love to it up there.”  Like people making out in a hotel hot tub, the staff and guests and everyone else don’t want to see you mauling something, pawing all over it and ruining life for the rest of us.

So I built a workout. And it’s draining. And I move past the “i gotta learn this fast or else” to “how fast can I learn this as I’m loving it?\

Welcome to the Zone. (someone call Kenny Loggins)

If you’ve got like 3 minutes to watch, here’s a montage of me, doing this above.  Over 60 percent of us are visual. So I should probably put this at the top, too.