It’s completely illogical to focus on what we don’t want.
This is how crazy that is. Say you’ve set a destination for yourself and it’s North. You don’t want to be where you are; you want to be over there, north of here. You start heading that way. But instead of looking where you’re going, looking at where you want to go, you look backward. You’re literally facing backward, facing South, while you’re walking North.
You can’t move quickly because you’re walking backwards. You can’t even see where you’re going!
We do this because paradoxically it seems easier. Where we were is a very clearly defined point in space. Where we’re headed might not be so clear, so we focus on what we know, what seems solid.
How To Tell If You’re Facing “North”
I’m guilty of this most when going through major transitions. When I left IBM to start out as a consultant, people would ask what I did and I would answer “I used to work at IBM and now I…” I again find myself answering that question from the past as “we just sold our energy efficiency company, Go Green Squads.”
This is a reminder to look in my current direction. I am a sustainability consultant and speaker about energy management. If you’re in a transition, how do you define yourself?
It’s OK to look back occasionally to get our bearings. It’s good to look back and see how far we’ve come. But if our destination is North, we need to be looking North. We need to be putting our energy into moving North. We need to be able to see where we’re going so we can avoid any bumps or pitfalls. We need to be able to run freely towards it when we get close.
How To Tell If Someone Else Is Facing “North”
You can tell which way someone is facing by the words they use. Like mine, they could be talking about the past. They could also be complaining about the way things are instead of musing about what could be.
In this political season, ask yourself where each candidate’s focus is. Are they using words of fear and blame, or words of opportunity and success? Are they talking about how things have been or how they could be? Are they talking about war? Or peace? And how do their words and actions make you feel. Angry? Fearful? or Inspired? Happy?
What is your North? Write it down, look at it, focus on it, move towards it. Reach it.