Look Where You Want to Go
In the Summer, I mountain bike regularly with my friend Jan. Our conversations are generally light and I always enjoy her company. We were talking about sports – both mountain biking and rafting – and she brought up that brilliant advice we’ve maybe all heard: Look where you want to go, not where you don’t want to go. It bears repeating because it actually applies to everything. In mountain biking, when you see a rock or tree or stump you don’t want to hit, the worst thing you can do is to keep watching it. That’s when you end up hitting it. So the thing to do is to look where you want to go and focus on that. Your bike will follow your gaze.
On the river, the principle works similarly. If you focus on the current you want to follow, rather than the big boulder in the middle of the stream that could hang up your boat, you’re more likely to get around it. (I needed to hear that one again since I’m out of practice on the river.)
But maybe it applies to other parts of life too. In relationships, you can focus on the one negative thing that your spouse did and stew about it long after “I’m sorry” is authentically rendered. But remembering what you love about that person and choosing to deal with that issue but then move on seems like a good strategy for lasting harmony.
When choosing friends (or boyfriends for that matter), I’ve learned it’s healthier and more rewarding to spend time with people who lift you up and make you laugh rather than those who drain your energy or make you feel uneasy. The more of these positive people I surround myself with, the more others seem drawn into the circle.
I find this especially true In my art career these last several years. I’ve kept my focus each day, each season and each year on where I’ve wanted to go. I’ve set goals for making my art practice financially sustainable so that I can spend less time at my day job and more time and energy honing my skills. I’ve researched shows and galleries I wanted to be part of and taken steps to make them happen. I’ve focused on new markets my art would be a good fit for and set about finding a foothold in those places. Don’t get me wrong – there’ve been obstacles – lots of them. And failures too. I’ve skinned my knee more than once. But I don’t choose to focus on those. I learn from them and make minor course corrections. And I continue to keep an eye on the big picture of where I’m headed. The cool part is it’s all starting to bring results. I’m finding new opportunities and my work is finding its audience. Perhaps it’s about being intentional with your focus by focusing on what makes you happy. Look where you want to go.
Do you see this analogy fitting into your life?