What’s the ‘third space’?
Finding happiness in the third space, but what is it?
To understand the importance the commute can have, it’s worth looking at what peak performance researcher Adam Fraser calls ‘the third space‘.
This is the time between any two different tasks. So it can be the commute, the time between putting down one project and picking up another, or the time between tasks of the same nature (the moments between calls for salespeople, for example).
Indeed, Adam even researched how elite tennis players make use of the time between serves, so the third space can be as short as that.
The act of zoning out to music on the bus, walking to/from your workplace or taking a detour via the gym allows you to “mentally show up” to your next tasks – be that in the boardroom or around the dinner table.
Adam developed this concept over seven years of research and came to the conclusion that effectively utilising third space-time makes us more resilient, adaptable and able to perform better in both our work and personal lives.
Of particular interest is a study he conducted in conjunction with Deakin University. He asked people to do three specific behaviours within the third space between work and home (that could be your commute, but Adam doesn’t specify) – reflect, rest and reset. After a month, Adam and the research team saw a 41 per cent improvement rate in positive behaviour in the home.
How to find your (Happiness) in the Third Space?
Try to get into the habit of reflecting on your day – making sense of it.
When you question high achievers to reflect on their day, they will tell you everything that went wrong, everything that sucked about their day.
Adam found that people typically have a cynical bias and so he suggests that people ask themselves these three questions:
Adam found that people who asked themselves this question at the end of their adopted an optimistic mindset and grew in terms of happiness.
Resting doesn’t necessarily mean meditating and staying completely still, there are many approaches to calming your mind. Whether it’s taking a few deep breaths, listening to music, doing a crossword puzzle or going for a quick walk – just to name a few.
Use this time to recompose yourself so that you don’t move on to the next task with racing thoughts.
“They say there are two types of people in life, those who light up a room when they walk and those who light up a room when they walk out,” Adam says.
You have the choice to decide what energy you bring in when you walk through the door at the start of the day – how do you affect the office?
You also have the choice to decide what energy you bring home at the end of the day.
Ask yourself what your intention is – Align your mindset with what is about to happen.
Do you want to enjoy time with your family?
Or do you want to bring your troubles from work home?
Think about your intention and determine how you can behave to achieve the intention.