Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Crystal-clear Focus on the Future

“The faster I got, the smoother the ride. Suddenly the Mach needle began to fluctuate. It went up to .965 Mach––then tipped right off the scale. After all the anxiety, after all the anticipation, breaking the sound barrier, the unknown, was just a poke through Jell-O, a perfectly paved speedway, because the real barrier wasn’t in the sky but in our knowledge and experience of supersonic flight.”

––From pilot Chuck Yeager’s autobiography, Yeager

“If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”

––Thomas Edison

Here’s a very important thing I learned from my mentor, Jim Newton: No-limits people focus with the intensity of a laser beam on what’s still possible. Once they commit themselves to a goal––and to the ongoing development of their own talents and abilities––they don’t spend a whole lot of time looking back and wondering how things might have turned out. They make their own luck. They don’t get sidetracked worrying about what’s gone wrong in the past; they study what works, identify exactly what doesn’t and then move forward.

No-limits people, in other words, learn to focus instinctively on what will still be. Most other people, by contrast, have taught themselves to focus instinctively on what might have been.

Look around you, and you’ll find that most people are content simply to get through the day. They focus on “bad luck” or “ rotten breaks” and look for excuses not to perform at peak levels. Of course, they usually find those excuses. If there were any honesty in the world, the majority of people would plan their days in daily planners that would have a long list of “opportunities to give in today” and perhaps one line devoted to a possible success!

The way people think about the day ahead––“It’ll never work! We’re doomed!” or “God never gives me more than I can handle. I know I can learn from whatever I encounter today”––has a profound impact on the amount we achieve. If we ask merely to get through the day, that’s what we’ll achieve! If we focus on “what might have been,” we never give ourselves the opportunity to become excited about “what will be!”

Immediate Action: Think of someone you know or have worked with whose habits and attitudes remind you of those of the “might-have-been” thinker. Now think of someone you know or have worked with whose example is closer to that of the “will-still-be” thinker. Whose life is more exciting? Whose rewards are more inspiring? Whose company do you enjoy more?

Point to Ponder Before You Go On: No-limits people fall into my category of “Accelerationist,” because they ACCELERATE! Here’s what I mean by that:

A––Awareness. They’re aware of the current situation and the goals they’ve set.

C––Commitment. They’re committed to developing their strengths.

C––Celebrate. They celebrate goals and achievement on a daily basis.

E––Education. They view this as a neverending process.

L––Laughter. They know how to laugh, and they do it often! (Laughter gets rid of negative stress.)

E––Energize. Their energy rubs off on others.

R––Responsibility. They encourage team accountability and are willing to stand behind their own


A––Aim. They keep raising it.

T––Time. They take time for themselves and for their family.

E––Evaluate. They regularly evaluate what’s happened and why. In other words, they learn from

themselves, as well as others.