Eye on the Path, Eye on the Goal
When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path.
I recently read The Champion's Mind by Jim Afremow (first half of the book is better than the second half). It's a book on sports and competition psychology that I actually found fascinating and a great read for someone like me who is highly driven and highly competitive.
In my opinion, the book gets off in the weeds a bit towards the end with discussions of zen and meditation and such. Though this section included an extensive section of anecdotes which I found surprisingly useful.
I found great value in one of the simplest sentences that read what you see above: "When you have on eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path."
For as long as I can remember I've always dreamed of living at the beach. I've held that ideal in my mind on a pedestal. The dream has evolved over the years from living in a hammock on a beach to living in a beachfront house on 30A down in the panhandle of Florida (which costs significantly more than a hammock). But that's been the goal.
Like a normal person I've always yearned for vacations and always had my eyes of getting to the goal. I just want to get past this stretch of whatever is in front of me to get to my goal.
But I've realized just how naive that is. I spent years not being present because I was focused on the future. I missed dozens of enormous opportunities because I had both eyes on the goal and NONE on the path.
But that's akin to constantly yearning and dreaming of more money and freedom, but not actually doing anything to get there.
So I did what I had to do.
I stopped thinking about my future in terms of dreams. I'll still plan ahead, but in terms of looking forward to vacations or dreams, I'm done. That sounds drastic, but I'm prone to extremes. Not to mention that vacation is a relatively recent invention and I'm pretty sure if humans survived that long without it, I'll be just fine.
I'm doing everything in my power to focus on now. On today. On doing work that matters. I have full confidence that if I can know where my path is headed, but put both eyes down for the time being and still get where I want to go.
Just like when you're driving your eyes are only on what you can see in front of you. You can't see or do anything about what's happening 5 miles ahead of you or even at your destination. You just have to focus on the now and keep moving.
That's what I want from my life moving forward. I'm sure I'll look up from time to time to check my progress and enjoy the view, but for now I'm finding joy in the journey.
Having the discipline to keep both eyes on the path is what sets people apart. And I know that the present is temporary. There will be highs and lows, but they will all come and go.
Take care of the process and the results will take care of themselves.