You’ve probably heard it said that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. It’s a simple law of physics. AND it’s impact is often underrated.
As you move in the direction of your goal, each of your actions creates an effect. If you concentrate only on your desired result you lose sight of the impact your actions are having – on you and on the world around you. You lose the ability to adjust when adjusting is simple. You create complexity and often dis-ease. Single-minded fixation is not the answer.
Achievement requires not only an eye on the prize but a diffuse attention to the impact of your actions. A continuous checking in and review of what happens when…
As you move toward your goal, a peripheral view lets you know what is going on around you. It gives you the ability to shift, to adapt to change.
To successfully complete a race, a marathon runner must keep her attention not only on the finish line but on the course, the terrain, the position of the other runners, the state of her body, her energy level and her strategy for finishing. If she stays focused only on the finish, if she stays committed to a preconceived plan, she loses the ability to make the minor adjustments she needs to make her finish strong. She risks burning out before she’s barely begun.
By expanding her vision to take in more than her ultimate goal, by giving herself permission to make small adjustments based on the input she receives, she creates the opportunity to conserve her energy, avoid other runners, side-step potholes, and otherwise make the going easier, more efficient. In other words, she increases the likelihood that she will succeed AND succeed in a way that is harmonious.
Likewise, in the games of sport, business and life, the best players are those who keep their focus broad enough to perceive what is happening around them. The movies may have us love the maverick but all that single-minded pushing toward a goal comes at a cost. The true heroes are those who have the wisdom, skill and strength to recognize the impact of their actions on the whole field of play AND to adjust their actions accordingly.
It is an old cliche but one that is as valid now as ever – “It’s not what you do that matters but HOW you do it.” It’s in the HOW that learning occurs. It’s in the HOW – the process of noticing and adapting – that you find ease and peace, progress and success.