Don't Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Traditional wisdom tells you to keep your eyes on the prize. Sorry to say so, but I think in this case, traditional wisdom is for losers.

Steve Prefontaine, 5000m finals, 1972 Munich Olympics, September 9, 1972 The Happy Rower via Compfight

Watch an Olympic sprinter. Watch a marathon runner. Watch a gymnast on the pommel horse. Watch a martial artist shatter a board with his bare hands or feet.

Pay careful attention. Is their focus on the finish line? Or is it somewhere else?

Is it beyond the finish line?

It's human nature to begin to slow down just before completion of a goal, as if preparing for a soft landing. That's why most people believe they cannot break a board with their fist. And if they think traditionally, they can't. But if they focus beyond the board, deliver their power to the other side of the board, then the board itself is not the finish line, it's actually just an obstacle on the way to the actual finish line.

Likewise, for an Olympic sprinter, the tape is just an obstacle on the way to the finish line in their mind. Only after they've blown well past it do they begin to slow down. You or I would probably slow those last few steps. The trained runner does not.

That's why they're champions.

If you're starting a business, don't think of selling the company or having an IPO as your finish line or you'll start to slow down when you're getting close. Pick a goal that's further out so you can maintain your stride and blow past the competition who think they're getting close and haven't learned this lesson yet.

If you want to achieve Olympic-class success, don't focus on the finish line.

Don't keep your eyes on the prize.

Keep your eyes past the prize.