The Zone


An Excerpt from Reaching for Insights: Stories of Love, Faith, and the Kitchen Sink, by Mitch Rosenzweig

At the gym, some of the equipment has them built right in; you just grab them and they tell you all kinds of information. Ideally, you are supposed to be at a certain heart rate, to maximize your efforts. But to actually get an accurate reading you either have to stop what you're doing or, like me, hold on to the handles for dear life until it registers. Without them, it seems next to impossible to tell your heart rate or pulse. Just because you're tired or out of breath doesn't mean your workout has been effective. Too fast or too slow and you are not in the critical zone.

Many of us spend our days trying to chillaxe, relax, detox, and meditate away life's challenges. Many things seem to assault us each day that we need to overcome, get over, or run away from. We seek solace in our own unique ways to get rid of whatever the yuck might be. We dream of trouble-free white sand beaches and tropical breezes. It is one of the most common things discussed in counseling: how to let go and let life. Many of us aren't very good at it.

But if we spin too fast we burn more than calories. We wear ourselves out from being on the edge of spent. And a life of meditation offers no opportunity for growth or love. Without things that make our heart race, we just exist fat and unhappy. We are born to seize opportunities, risky or not, to achieve our maximum potential. That moment when you first know love, the exuberance of finding your purpose and "aha" of understanding: these are the sweet spots of the critical zone.

Do one thing a day that scares you, something that thrills you, settles you, and expresses your love and you will find your sweet spot and achieve maximum potential.

In his new book Reaching for Insights: Stories of Love, Faith, and the Kitchen Sink, veteran clinical psychologist and social worker Mitch Rosenzweig attunes his therapeutic sensibilities to his daily landscape and uncovers life lessons for us all - treasures gained by observing the ordinary from an often amusing, and always positive, perspective. This rich collection of 200 brief essays penned from his personal and professional observations delights us and invites us to grow into better, more compassionate human beings. For more information, visit