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Blurred Lines

The sun was setting and the meet was nearing an end. High school distance runners took to the track after being called over by the starters. It was the sectional meet as many set their sights on a spot at the state meet. Several athletes had already punched their ticket in their respective events earlier in the day, but there were still a few more slots up in the air. The only thing in my way was a race that would take the top eight performers to the big dance. Lined up was some of the top talent in Georgia. Varying in height, I looked to my left and right to start sizing the competition. Nerves rushed through my system as I visualized a flawless 3200 meter run. I turned around, and with one final stride, stopped by the fence and handed my mom my glasses.

“Wish me luck!” I whispered as I scurried to the starting line. And with a shot of a blank, we were off.

Now, what is wrong with this picture? Obviously you would think that my sight is probably to next most important thing to my fitness in a foot race. When it comes to distance running, many can attest that it is all about getting into a rhythm and running your own race. I would make sure not to clip any heels, tuck behind others setting the pace, and wait for the right time to make my moves. It was comforting to not have to worry about my glasses fogging up or falling off along the way. As the race progressed, I let my mind wander and I would find myself following my heart blindly.

Crazy enough, my race went very well and I got that state meet spot. I discovered that I didn’t have to depend on my sight to move forward. As my experience on the track increased, I started to sacrifice the clarity of my destination for the progress that I was willing to make to get there. It was a way of eliminating distractions even. But, there is no way I can keep a straight face and tell you that was my original intention.

A big assumption that I make is that the closer I get to the finish line, the more I would know what success looks like. I like to define this as being directionally correct: something that may not be the ultimate answer, but moves you in the right cardinal direction.

I find a lot of people who look out into the distance searching for something just waiting to make a move. They are so caught up in picking the most efficient and streamlined path forward that time just passes them by. Life isn’t perfection. As a matter of fact, it is the imperfections of our trajectory that give us a story to tell. We can only see so far into our future. As bright as it may be, it can be blinding. Blurred lines take on personas of their own beckoning us over or warning us of danger ahead. The only way to get a better vantage point is to stumble, stagger and fall. But take on the small failures as motions forward nonetheless.

So I ask you, if you are going to blunder anyway, why not get it over with? Fail fast, pivot strategically, and become agile in your approach to success. Let’s switch up the pace and do some quick maths.

Speed = Distance ÷ Time

Speed is based on your destination and desired time you want to get there. It is one thing to know where you want to be in life. Another huge battle is knowing how you are going to do it. That can be a whole post in and of itself. But, let’s assume that both of these factors are solidified for you. The only other thing to address is the extent you are willing to travel in a given amount of time. There is no way around the journey, so I urge you to go fast. But, here is another way to look at it:

Power = Work ÷ Time

In the same vain of the first equation, the amount of work we are willing to put in is really the only factor assuming we know what is required of us. I like to define power as the ability to act fast. A lot of us know where we want to be and maybe even what it takes to get there. But, many do not have the work ethic to expedite this process. In the simplest form, the key is to simply put in more work in a given amount of time. Just think, we have a perfect equations with just one true variable (as we can’t control time). So with time intrinsically related to both rates of success, why not max out your effort?

I find myself time and time again running blind in this journey called life. But if you listen closely, you will hear the cheers of the crowd. You will feel your heart palpitate through your chest. You will taste victory. Lean into your other now heightened senses and you will find that they join forces to define a new sense: urgency. And if you use this lever wisely, you’d be amazed at the timeliness of your goals and dreams.

-AVG

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