Escape Tunnel Vision And Achieve Your Goals
“Eyes on the prize.”
My high school coach would tell me. If you are a motivated, goal-oriented individual, you have been advised at one point to do this. Some call it tunnel vision. Some call it laser focus. Some call it goal obsessed. Either way, the premise is to be so focused on your plan that nothing can distract you. There’s nothing wrong with being so driven that you believe nothing can stop you from accomplishing your goal. The great Kobe Bryant was notorious for having this Mamba Mentality that embodied that relentless drive.
As practical as it is, is there a better way? Better yet, is this way of thinking flawed?
The other day I was sitting in my car. Somehow this random June Bug happened to make its way in. I find them one of the world’s most annoying and stupid insects. My instinct when I see one is to kill it, but rather than destroying it with a magazine or gym towel, I observed and gave it time to escape. I watched for a few minutes as it relentlessly tried to find its way out. It continued to bash its head into my windshield. I’m convinced I saw it fly back to gather steam to break through the glass.
Feeling sorry for the thing, I opened the window to shoo it away, but it kept focusing on what it could see outside the windshield. It saw freedom just beyond that glass. It was inches from the open window but kept moving to the center of my windshield only to bash into it. I opened all the doors to make it evident that freedom was so close. Eventually, I picked it up with a tissue and threw it outside my car. What a dumb insect.
As I pondered, sometimes we can be narrow-minded dumb insects. In life, we see the goal. We see others achieving extraordinary things. We see projects slowly coming to fruition. We know the viability of a business venture in front of us. We see the gym pass and six-pack abs in our grasp. We see all these goals of financial freedom, great relationships, excellent health and all things we define as success. Nothing comes easy, so we accept that effort, focus and determination are key. And there we go ramming our heads into the metaphorical windshield of life.
We often don’t realize that something could be blocking us from achieving the goals we see right before us. It could be ego, lack of knowledge, fear or timing, technology, mentorship, etc. Like me trying to guide that dumb June Bug to the window, people could be trying to teach us along our journey. However, we are so narrow-minded that we IGNORE them, avoid them or continue to bash our heads into the glass barrier.
Sometimes arrogance convinces us as we say, “Don’t worry. I know what I’m doing,” as we senselessly accomplish failure repeatedly.
Although failure is a vital part of success, sometimes there are more efficient ways of achieving a goal. For instance, you can accelerate success through mentorship. 87% of Fortune 500 Companies have a mentorship program. Of that, 97% of those who use mentors have said they increased the odds of success in their careers. Mentors and advisors can provide that second opinion or, in our June Bug scenario, guide us through the window to win.
Albert Einstein once said,
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting the same result.”
Eventually, the intelligent person will find a solution. However, one can get there faster if you have an open mind, view different perspectives, seek other creative ways to solve the problem and leverage experienced mentors. Life isn’t linear. Rather than a straight line, we find success through ebbs, and flows, multiple attempts, and trial and error. We must pivot, adapt, seek new ideas, humble ourselves and get help. If not, we could be bashing our heads against a barrier we can’t break. For many, this continued effort without results can crush our dreams. We can tire ourselves out and give up on our goals without knowing that another window of opportunity exists if we choose to look. You can’t escape the flaws of tunnel vision if you can’t see the options around you.