Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Super Human Power

If you have restless genes, you may carry a super human power. This power is the ability to hyperfocus. Wikipedia describes the term hyperfocus an an intense mental state where one can focus on a subject, topic or task. Hyperfocusing also includes the ability to tune out the "unimportant" distractions and allows one to concentrate for hours at a time.

My favorite People's toy
Hyperfocusing has always been a part of my life, from playing with Little People toys as a toddler, running in high school, writing college reports and hiking 14,000 foot peaks.  I have a knack for tuning out noises, conversations and unnecessary distractions in order to complete a project that is interesting to me at the time.  While "zoned in", I am highly motivated to complete the goal.

A great example of my ability to hyperfocus can be seen in my college grades.  The classes resulted in either very high grades or very low grades. I even had to re-take a few classes that were completely boring to me. Classes of high interest, like paleontology and historical geology, resulted in easy solid A's.  While attending paleontology class, the professor assigned a special project which required students to pick and mount microfossils called conodonts.  One day, while looking under the microscope and scouring through fine particles of dirt for conodonts, I zoned in and tuned out.  My zone lasted from about 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  I even forgot to eat dinner!

This amazing super human power originated with our ancestors long ago.  They hunted in order to survive. They needed the power of hyperfocusing to find, track, zone in and kill their hunt, while being aware of their environment and surroundings. The act of hunting could take several hours to several days. This high level of concentration still remains in some of us today.  Since only a portion of humans live with this ability, it isn't easily understood by the majority of people.  This misunderstanding can lead to communication and relationship problems.   Some people may view the ability to hyperfocus as forgetfulness, rudeness, ignorance, isolation and being self centered.  On the flip side, hyperfocusing presents a precious gift and super human power.  This allows people to:

1) Complete a project in record time
2) Work well under extreme pressure with distractions
3) Concentrate on details, while working through complex multitiered projects
3) Maintain high levels of dopamine to remain "happy", then feeling a "high" upon completing a task
4) Stir inner creativity
5) Excel in sports by being able to zone in and practice, practice, practice

If you've ever found yourself tuned and zoned in, you may possess this unique super  human power.