How Goals Can Distract You From Success

Growing up I was always told to keep my eye on the prize (my goals).  It made sense, so I didn’t really question it.  As I got older I could still see the value in the statement.  Goals are important; they give us a direction and destination to pursue.

However, earlier this year I began to realize that maybe my eye shouldn’t be focused too intensely on the prize.  Perhaps I should focus it more on my efforts and actions.  Now, I am not saying to forget the prize (goals), what I mean is that once you know what the goal is, you don’t need to focus on it so much.  For instance, if you want to be a lawyer, you don’t need to remind yourself everyday that you want to be a lawyer.  If you are enrolled in and attending law school, you have probably already internalized that goal.  Your proverbial “eye” should instead be on the actions and efforts that will get you there because ultimately, that is the only thing within your control.  In fact, your goal could become somewhat distracting in a negative way.  By focusing on it a lot, it feels as if you have more to lose with each setback and there will be setbacks.  This causes an unnecessary distraction that can be avoided.

The efforts and actions represent the journey and becoming a lawyer represents the destination.  Given that we spend most of our time on the journey versus the destination, it makes sense that we shift most of our focus to where we spend the most time.  If we do that, we can dedicate most of our energy to the efforts and actions that culminate into the goal.

This doesn’t just apply to careers; this applies to relationships, athletics, personal goals, etc.  Focusing on what is outside of our control creates unnecessary frustration whereas focusing on what is within our control can liberate us from frustrating levels of disappointment. Continue reading

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Making Mistakes Like You Really Mean It!

Over the last few years I have become quite fascinated with learning – mostly by how it occurs and how we can become more aware and intentional of the process.  I believe that if we can understand how learning occurs most efficiently and effectively, we can leverage that to significantly improve our own attempts at learning.

Score or miss, this looks like a spectacular attempt!

Every week I spend several mornings training at a soccer field.  I’m not training for a tryout or any particular event. In fact, I no longer play on a formal team since moving to NYC from St. Louis.  I simply want to get better at the game I love.  I watch the pros carefully to see what separates the best ones from the average.   Yesterday, I was working on penalty kicks and my goal was to consistently hit powerful shots into either of the upper corners of the goal.  The pros that have mastered this approach never get stopped because it is virtually impossible for a goalie to reach that extreme area of the goal given the proximity and velocity of the ball.  If they fail to score this way, it’s not because a goalie stopped the shot but because the kicker missed the target. Continue reading

New Experience #3 – Visiting Rue Lafayette in Lafayette Square

Two weeks ago, at the invitation of a friend, I visited a part of St. Louis that I have never been to – Lafayette Square.  This is one of the oldest neighborhoods in St. Louis with a great deal of history.  It seems this area has been through a roller coaster ride of boom and bust.

A couple of houses in Lafayette Square

The park that comprises the center of Lafayette Square is the oldest public park in St. Louis.  In 1896 a tornado significantly devastated the neighborhood and it wasn’t until the 1970’s that people began buying up and renovating the old homes.  Continue reading

Finding the Good in a Bad Situation

I have been playing soccer since I was 13 years old and absolutely LOVE playing the game.  I play on a local team and game day is what I look most forward to each week.

This past spring, just two games into the season, I dislocated my hip on my kicking leg (right) while practicing.  It hurt.  A lot.  For a few days I couldn’t walk.  I was incredibly disappointed by this because I had spent so many months getting into great shape for the season.  The first two games of the season were probably two of my best games in years.  I hoped for a speedy recovery, but ultimately it took me 10 weeks to fully recover.

About 2 weeks into recovery I began going back to the gym to start some light rehabbing.  Unfortunately the most I could do with my injured leg was lightly jog on it.  I could barely kick the ball and if I tried, the blinding pain brought me to my knees (I figured this out the hard way several times).  I was so frustrated, angry, and sad all at the same time.  I wanted nothing more than to at least be able to kick the ball, even if I couldn’t play.  For a few days I stopped going to the gym because I was so frustrated with the injury.  I kept wondering why this happened and why now.  Continue reading