It was this past Saturday afternoon and before getting started on helping cook dinner I found myself alone at home at just the moment the Baltimore Raven – Denver Bronco NFL Divisional Playoff game took place. Yes I know, funny how that just kind of ‘happened’. I had a cold beverage – (no it was not a beer) and sat back to watch the game with no distractions. I hadn’t set out to do so but I was about to have what I call a ‘pure’ experience.
I had no other distractions (answering email or reading something on my phone, iPad or even something lying on the cocktail table). I would have only been happier to have my wife, son, father, or football fans watching with me. Tweeting about the game or posting on Facebook (I did one time) is a far cry from having a shared experience much less a pure one.
The best aspect of the pure experience part is that by single-tasking (that is NOT multi-tasking) I was able to watch and enjoy one of the best football games I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. It was as if by not being distracted I was able to see and hear things that I would have missed. Not many NFL games are played at such a high and such an intense level. I was lucky to have been ready and in the proper frame of mind and I was rewarded with a gem – a wonderful and pure experience.
I realized I don’t have enough of those pure experiences. I am guessing I have a lot of company. Shutting out the distractions is becoming increasingly difficult. The ability (and beauty) to be able to focus on a singular thing is so very important when it comes to optimal performance and optimal enjoyment (they are not always tied together).
I admire people who while reading a book (or whatever), are so focused that the only way to get their attention is to physically touch them. That level of concentration and focus is undermined by the ringing, dinging, singing and vibrating of the personal interruption device you carry in your pocket or purse.
Think about music for example. Before recorded music, performed live music was the only way to experience music. You’d sit and listen, and watch, (although there was no a lot of action in the orchestra). It was a pure experience. When you walk around with your iPod and listen to music is it the same experience? How could it be when your eyes are taking in the changing landscape? How often do you just sit and listen to recorded music without doing anything else? Note: Looking at your phone that’s playing the music counts.
I watched the entire game – well that’s not entirely true as I had the game on while I helped cook dinner. I was connected to the game walking over to watch play frequently and I never lost touch with the moment to moment. It was a bit frantic but I’m glad I did. So it was not like one of the purest experiences I’ve ever had – back in 1995 a World Series Game 4 at Jacobs Field in Cleveland where I watched Steve Avery and the Braves pitchers shut down a powerful Indian team. Thanks for inviting me Norm. It was 35 degrees but I did not feel cold, I didn’t have a beer, and remember so much of that night so vividly.
Do you have some great pure experiences to share? Shouldn’t we all try to have more of them?