Don’t stare at the thing you’re trying to miss

16Apr10

My friend sheena is a glider pilot. Well in her spare time anyway.

She lives in New Zealand where throwing yourself off things is a way of life.

She was once coming into land with an instructor. Right at the front of the landing strip was a landrover, parked slightly to the right.

Sheena though “I’d better watch I don’t hit that.”

Now, a Land Rover is about 8 feet high, max. Sheena’s glider would normally be at about 30 feet at that point. And the Land Rover was away to the right, so in theory well out of the way.

But the more Sheena thought about missing it, the more she looked at it. And the more she looked at it, the more inexorably her flight path was drawn to it. Despite all her attempts, the glider just kept drifting towards the 4×4.

At the last minute, her instructor took the controls, hopped the glider over the Land Rover and landed them down on the grass. They trundled to a stop and sat there in silence. As you’d imagine, the instructor had her full attention. And he said only this.

“Never concentrate on what you’re trying to avoid. Concentrate on what you’re trying to hit.”

By thinking so much about the Land Rover, Sheena was imperceptibly steering towards it. It became the focus of her attention.

And if that’s the power it exerts on your body, imagine the power it exerts on your mind?

So don’t concentrate on the agency you’re trying to beat. Set your heart on what you want to create. You’re much more likely to hit the right target.

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