Redirection is a powerful tool. In business, often times those people who are able to redirect their focus are called visionaries. So often we are told to have asingleness of purpose. We see this in sports. Athletes are told only one thing matters; winning. They train, they focus, and they cast away any possible distractions. Sometimes a few of these athletes make it big. We don’t see all the names of those who gave it all they had and failed. We just see the big headlines of who has been signed and how many millions they will receive. “Broke” (an ESPN special you can click here to watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSOAwNSv8EM) showed the dismal results of these athletes. The bankruptcy, broken marriages, broken bodies and addictions.
Athletes aren’t the only ones subject to the emotional bankruptcy of this narrow focus. We see it all the time, in business. Sometimes, when we work hard enough and stay focused long enough, we are able to eek out just enough to say “ah the win”. Most of us fail. We give up our health, our marriages, our relationships, and what feels like a piece of our soul, to execute “the plan that will make it all worth while”.
We see the company who’s IPO’s skyrocketed, and Fortune 500’s greatest success stories, as affirmation, that focus, and hard work, will lead us there too. We don’t have many books about all the businesses that worked harder and longer, but failed. We don’t see all the experiments and millions of dollars that were spent over decades for a ‘cure’. We just see the ‘wonder drug’ that finally hit the mark.
All this Vegas style jackpot publicity creates a false sense of reality. We begin to believe in illusions, and our mind becomes stuck in an insane state. We hang onto the idea that failure is bad, that next time will be different, and all the while we blindly follow the same formula that isn’t working.
I have a theory this starts in our childhood. I realized with my own children, how often I would simply say ‘no’. It was not until I read a parenting book, about the power of redirection, that I began to understand the error of my ways. I stopped saying “no” or “don’t climb on the cabinets, instead look you can climb on and in this old pot!” Every night at dinner with my 3, 2 and newborn infant, I would pull out the laundry basket of thrift store pots and pans, and let them bang away. They had a need. NO! Would not have met that need. Being creative and redirecting their need fulfilled them, and made it possible for me to cook dinner.
I also noticed my own internal addictions to ‘plans’. I had planned to deliver my children a certain way. I hired specialists, changed my diet, went to a hypnotherapists, read books, meditated, went to the chiropractor, and did everything I could in preparation for ‘my plan’. I had never considered an alternative and when my plan failed, I was caught off balance and felt deflated and unprepared.
It has been my experience, the way to meet a goal, is not in a straight line. The lasting way, to meet meaningful goals, is to be thoughtful and open-minded. Focus for short sprints is effective, but I have to be willing to stop and reflect on progress and do a bayesian update of my beliefs. I have to be willing to change within myself things that are not effective.
“If you don’t change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” – Lao Tzu
I believe this is why people who are more malleable, are more joyful. They can shift course, and relax into resistance, rather than fight it. They understand the natural ebb, and flow, of success. They embrace failure, as an opportunity to redirect their efforts.
Those who so blindly follow a prescript, are often hard. Even when they smile, there is a strain in their eyes, and a sense of bitterness and loss behind their ‘rah rah’.
“If you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree.” – unknown.
What is most interesting, is that both parties (those with singleness of purpose and those who are malleable) may achieve their goals and at the same level of success.
What is even more interesting, is only one enjoyed themselves along the way, and created deep meaningful connections, with those around them. They pursued their hearts desire with joy. The same could be said for both personality types when they fail at something. They both feel loss to be sure, but one person moves forward with understanding; that path was not theirs to take and they blaze a new trail. The other person may be seen going around and around looking for the same plan to work, believing if they just focus more, they will play with the kids when, they will connect with their spouse when, they will be happy when…. What if “when” never happens? Or worse, what if it does, and no one is left to enjoy it with them?
“It takes courage to change direction. Choose the path your heart agrees with and walk with your head high and your eyes open. Don’t be afraid.” – The Canadian