Looking Beyond Ourselves


How many times have you ever felt burnt-out, spent, or unproductive? Although you are working and working, accomplishing priorities and achieving your goals little by little, you might feel as though you are in a rut. Although success is often perceived as the end-result of a continual applied effort, success is present every step of the way as you accomplish those little feats of execution. Sustained efforts have a tendency to produce lasting results…and that is our aim when we are taking steps to achieve.

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to listen to an innovative automobile designer, Henrik Fisker. In a presentation to Chapman University, he said the following:

…the doubters that are out there, they are rarely the builders, and those who are the skeptics are never really the inventors, and I feel there is the possibility to go against the naysayers, take the risk…and follow your dream and get people behind you because a lot of us out there…believe that dreams are possible.

Henrik's achievements did not come without years of dedication and commitment to a lifelong dream. He had to “pay his dues” along the way to becoming an independent designer & manufacturer. Clearly, you and I may not be in the business of designing vehicles and manufacturing them but the principle is there: hang in there & keep at it!

At times, the days or weeks will be long and seem unending. Days will melt together. It will feel like you're drowning or that you might just wanna give up…DON'T. I have discovered that when a period of setbacks line up and meet you one after another, it's time for a gut-check. Gut-checks are uncomfortable. They are also defining moments that rarely come once. How badly do you and I want it? Do we want more than the low-hanging fruit? You and I must ask ourselves:

  • How committed am I to the outcome I have already envisioned & planned?
  • Is the outcome still possible based on the feedback I've just received?
  • Am I willing to make the necessary adjustments to achieve my desire?
  • If I am willing to make adjustments, what needs my attention first?
  • Whom might I call on to strengthen areas in which I'm not strong, yet?

I recently interviewed David B. Rutherford of David's setbacks on his path to becoming a Navy SEAL put him through several gut-checks before he made it. He graduated BUD/s class 209 and made a career as an elite Operator for 8 years. He then became an instructor with the SEALs and now is self-employed as an educator & behavioral training specialist. I'm currently reading in his book Froglogic, Field Manual for Adults, vol. 1- Self-Confidence and it's a tool that is proving life-saving to me. This book is an absolute must have for any adult that is serious about getting FIRED-UP or reigniting a flame that is flickering! One of the key statements in his book is so simple but has reminded me of a principle I have known but failed to apply for whatever reason:

There is nothing better than working out the built up energy and stress in  your body prior to using your mind.

It's true and I've experienced that in the past. Now, not everyone is going to like the next statement, but this is the kind of simple truth that will literally change your mind for the better if you stick with it consistently, he continues:

Conducting at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise every day will begin getting you dialed in to forge your Self-Confidence. (Kindle edition, loc. 198-207)

Now, at some point during your reading of this article you might have asked yourself what the title “Looking Beyond Ourselves” has to do with the content here? Most of the content is talking about achieving and maintaining a certain mindset: the mindset you and I both need to in order to hit our targets head-on. Here's my point: in the pursuit of achieving our goals, you and I will inevitably face gut-check moments. Looking beyond ourselves is the realization that the thoughts and emotions of resignation, which accompany those gut-checks, are part of our refinement. They are an essential element in that evocative evolution. Looking beyond ourselves reminds us that the achievements of the moment are actually achievements that, once obtained, are ever-lasting. Perhaps, they are a new foundation upon which you and I will achieve more.

Your and my perception of our individual selves might capture only the visible image reflected from a mirror at which we are looking. Looking beyond ourselves is the ability to visualize our selves once we have achieved that milestone, while looking into that mirror. Don't settle for what your eyes see, work toward what your heart and mind envision, whatever that may be. Chances are, that goal is bigger than who you are and who I am at present. And, it just might be that the people who will benefit most from your and my achievement(s) exist outside of ourselves.


-David SafeWater


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