We live in a hectic, deadline driven world. Whether at work or home, things are either speeding towards us from all sides, or we are flying headlong into one event after another. At the office we are in a constant state of managing the expectations of bosses, peers and customers. At home we rush kids to and fro, and battle dishes and laundry, while always keeping one eye on the calendar for the next holiday or gathering.
As we travel though life at shuddering speeds, it’s easy to wonder if and when we will crash. You can hear those little voices in your mind, those back seat drivers asking, how much can you take? How do other people do it? When are you finally going to get a break? These self defeating mantras keep you on the shoulder of the highway, scraping the guard rails instead of heading where you want to go. Here is a technique to put things in the right gear, no matter how much life throws at you!
Never look at the wall! Professional stock car drivers are taught to never look at the walls around the track, especially when things are going wrong. Why? Because at the speeds those drivers travel, the car will head wherever the driver looks. I heard this years ago in college and have never forgotten it. It can be applied to any stressful situation. Look to where you want to go, not to any potential disaster looming in your imagination. It’s okay to acknowledge potential negative consequences to your situation, but they shouldn’t govern you.
This advice is echoed today in many ways. Dave Ramsey, personal finance expert, tells people to never use fear as the basis for important money decisions. NFL quarterbacks are trained to always look downfield. They are to “feel” the rush without watching it. And the Lord gave us all this priceless gem in the Gospel of Matthew:
“Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?” Jesus (Matthew 6:27)
It is amazing how only Christ can speak to us, in such an awakening way, with so few words. Worry only robs us of our vitality. If we let it, worry will bind us and keep us from accomplishing our missions in life.
What walls are casting shadows on you these days? Are you looking at them, or are you instead looking to where you want to go?
By looking to where we want (and need) to go, we see the people we are serving. We realize how we can assist them and we are energized to make that happen. By looking to our walls we see how much rides on our shoulders, what we are giving up with all the required work and how defeated and humiliated we would be if we crashed.
You see how one view energizes us and the other drains us? One perspective allows us to look long term, down the road at the horizon, to think of possibilities and accelerate towards an exciting future. The other has us short sighted, in a darker, smaller world where everyone and everything else is merely a road block.
Today, start to practice looking away from the walls. See where you want to go instead, how you want to help, who you want to do good for and why. I believe you will find more fuel in your tank when you do!
We may not be able to add time to our lifespans, but we can increase the quality of our lives, and the value we bring to others, simply by choosing the better perspective!