THE GOAL AND THE DISTRACTION
Updated: Dec 10, 2020
Sunday, March 10, 2019 6:29 PM
“A distraction is relative to the goal”.
Thinking further into my previous post: The beauty of asking the simple question: What Is The Goal?
I want to learn more about why asking that question is so important. And understand how the derivative-impact of the question can be just as profound as the resulting answer itself. The derivatives help us learn just as much as the question itself. What is the derivative of “What Is The Goal?”, what is the distraction.
With The Goal, we have The Distraction. What is The Distraction, it is anything that puts Distance between you and your desired Track in life. A distraction is not the end because normally it only puts a small amount of distance between you and where you want to go. But given enough distractions, you will no longer be able to return to your desired track. This is because 1 of 2 things happen with enough distractions:
1. You’re so far from where you wanted to be that you can no longer see the path you were meaning to take. Just as straying farther and farther from a trail in the woods makes it more and more likely you will not find the trail again.
2. You have put too much distance between you and the track you wanted. Because of our limited resource of time, you simply will not have the time to get back.
Interesting side question: What is a the sadder, scenario 1 or 2? Forgetting what your path was entirely or seeing the path you wanted to take from so far away that you won’t be able to get back in time?
Having a goal keeps you on track as best as possible as life begins to throw distractions to knock you off your path. Notice that I say “distractions” and not “challenges”, it is very possible that life throws you challenges to keep you on the path that you wish to go (that is a post for another day). Distractions on the other hand, pull you away from the goal.
The hard part about distractions is being able to determine what a true distraction really is? It may seem simple, but it depends to what depth we look at it. That said, let’s start with the primary take away and work our way from there. Consistently seek to remember:
“A Distraction Is Always Relative To The End Goal”
This is one of the most powerful understandings life has to offer. I say that with absolute certainty and without hesitation because it is truth to me. A distraction is always relative to the end goal, or if we were to look at it from a different angle, the goal always dictates what the distractions are.
Let’s look at this in practice:
The Bodybuilder and The Foodie are comparing their goals:The Bodybuilder is seeking to earn their IFBB Pro Card followed by eventually getting to the Arnold Classic Stage, followed by eventually getting to the Mr. Olympia Stage, great — awesome goals!The Foodie on the other hand has the goal of trying a breakfast, lunch, and dinner from each one of 50 countries in Europe, after which he wants to write a book about the similarities, differences, and origin of the differences between food in the countries, after writing the book the Foodie wants to have the book published and eventually start their own video series on Netflix.
Obviously these 2 people are on 2 completely separate trajectories. The Bodybuilder recognizes what his goal is and because of that the idea of world travel and cultural experiences must take the back-burner. There simply is no way to compete at that level while travelling around from country to country, eating a bunch of different foods each day. In essence, every single thing that does not move him closer to the goal of Pro Card, Arnold, or Olympia is a distraction. And the more distractions he puts between himself and the goal, the more likely there (I recognize this is a gross over-generalization).
This is why many bodybuilders live very “Groundhog Day” like lifestyles while they are competing. They simply must have their routine to get the results they want. For many, “wake up, eat, train, eat, nap, eat, train, eat, sleep” is not an uncommon ritual for many years.
It is because of this that we have the quote “No Sacrifice — No Success” . Going to travel Europe sounds amazing, and being able to eat amazing foods in all 50 different countries is even more amazing, but that amazingness is a distraction if that is not your goal.
This leads us to another clear distinction, just because the distraction is incredible does not mean that you need to take it. Again, for the people in the back, just because the distraction is incredible does not mean that you need to take it! That “once in a lifetime” thing, or that “absolutely amazing opportunity” does not mean you have to sway from your track (more on this in another post).
Example: If you’re a bodybuilder and someone offers you an all expense paid trip around Europe, including 3 meals a day, an incredible experience, once in a lifetime type scenario, maybe* that is not your opportunity, even if it is offered specifically to you. That’s a decision you would need to make.
I would say this is one thing that we need to do a better job teaching now that social media has become what it has become. Not every once in a lifetime is meant for you at this moment, not every absolutely amazing opportunity is meant for you at this moment. In fact, many aren’t and a sign of greatness is being able to distinguish that. Let someone else have that lifetime event, or opportunity if it a distraction for you. In fact find others who have a goal where that would not be a distraction and offer it up to them. Saying this is obviously easier said than done, this is where an abundance mindset comes in (a topic for another post).
Onto the next example:
The Businessman and The BohemianA businessman and a bohemian are comparing their goals, the businessman seeks to generate 250,000 of revenue this year, followed by 750,000 in revenue next year, followed by 1.25 million in the year after that. And for that reason, he must focus on his business and figure out what will help him follow his track and what will not.The Traveler goal is to travel through all 50 states, meet 100 new people, and going on amazing adventures along the way.
Obviously the businessman would not be able to be the businessman if he was following the goals of the Traveler. The goals of the Traveler are the distractions of the businessman and vice-versa, and the Traveler would not be the Traveler if he was following the goals of the businessman because there would be too much structure. Now are these oversimplifications, yes, but oversimplification is needed before simple, and simple is needed before complex.
It is this principle: A Distraction Is Always Relative To The Goal, that makes me say, do not give 2 thoughts into what anyone else is doing until you have figured out what you’re doing. While there are certain principles we should all live by, the way we act on those principles should specifically be our own. Do not lose faith in your process because some distraction is seemingly more effective, once in a lifetime, or great for someone else.
If you can see that The Goal and The Distraction are interconnected, great! So there is the foundation, now let’s proceed onward to more complex parts of the study:
If a distraction is relative to the goal, and you have defined the goal the next step is to define: what is a distraction and what is not?
A seeming-distraction is not always a distraction, sometimes the distraction IS the way we need to walk, a superpower is being able to determine which distraction is which. For example, let’s say the businessman whose goal is to have $750,000 in revenue next year is focused on that.
He gets to work early, works long hours, stays late and repeats, all while focusing on the goal. Every so often, he gets invited out by his friends, but normally says no for the simple fact that he is working on the goal and does not wish to be “distracted”.
What he may not realize is maybe one of the times he went out with his friends he may end up meeting a new client, or connection that helps him reach his goal, even at a faster pace than expected. Unable to know whether that will be the case or not is what makes Distraction Deciphering hard. Surely, every time he goes out he will not meet someone, but perhaps once, just once he will, and that will make all the difference. The superpower is determining which time is which?
Every person listed above has a potential quagmire on their hands:
The bodybuilder might* have greater results by embracing the “distractions”, the systems of the foodie. He could find a new form of training in Iceland that could help him achieve his goals.The Foodie might* achieve his goals if he embraces the “distractions”, the systems of the bodybuilder, the rigorous routine.The Traveler might* be able to enjoy the adventure that much more if he were to embrace the distractions that he associates with business men.
On the surface, the way the opposing person lives their lives is just a distraction. But at it’s core, the way the opposing person lives their lives might serve them well.
That said, the superpower is being able to figure out what are distractions and what are not.
What’s next? If we can embrace:
A distraction is relative to the goalNot all things that seem like distractions are distractions
We can now move onto the next part of the equation:
What about if you have multiple goals?
What would that look like? That would look something like this: The Bodybuilder who wants to start a cooking show, the businessman who wants to travel to all 50 states. Now there is 2 ways these multiple goals can occur:
The occur simultaneously at the same timeThey occur at different moments of our life
For our current discussion we are going to be talking about scenario 1, goals that we are seeking to accomplish simultaneously. Scenario 2 will be covered in a different post.
The bodybuilder who wants to travel trying foods puts them in a very unique position, the same thing is also true with the businessman who wishes to live Travelling. By identifying the goals it requires more specific actions. If there is only 1 goal the list of distractions is only dependent upon that 1 factor.
However, if there is 2 goals, then the list of distractions is dependent upon both factors. This means, that we the human processors have to identify what helps us move towards both goals, what are the distractions of goal a, what are the distractions for goal b, and what are the distractions of both goal a and b. It makes it much more difficult to accomplish either, but at the same time, if they pull it off in some capacity it makes them much more marketable because they we’re able to do it (again, topic for another post).
Multiple goals, means we have to understand multiple networks of distractions and non-distractions.
Finally: If we can understand:
A distraction is relative to the end goalNot all things that seem like distractions are distractionsThe amount of distractions multiply exponentially when looking at multiple simultaneous goals
The last part of in this process is:
4. The end goal and it’s distractions are relative to time-horizon.
What if we were to take these questions: “What is the goal?” And “What Are The Distractions?” and expand to a greater time-horizon as well as onto a greater goal?
Let’s throw out the longest expansion possible for one’s life: “what is the goal of my life-in entirety”? And let’s throw out one of the greatest possible goals for one’s life: the goal is to be happy or to live a good life. Under this analysis we can learn a lot about how to define our goals and distractions.
For many, they may find the “distractions” they have for the moment become the distractions they need for the long time-horizon. To be clear, the distraction of listening might be what you need in the long run. The distraction of doing random acts of kindness might be what you need in the long run. The distraction of doing nothing might be what you need in the long run. The distraction of taking your time might be what you need in the long run. Understanding this is what leads to the quote “enjoy the little things in life, for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things.”
Those “distractions” the ones pulling you away from your short term goal could be the very same ones that could potentially be pushing you to your long term goal. And this is why it is absolutely critical to ask “What Is The Goal?” periodically and consistently.
“Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow. But also ask yourself if that is getting you closer to where you want to be 50 years from now.”