Lesson 6: Pay Attention
In lesson 5 I talked about taking advantage of good fortune when it comes our way. Sometimes recognizing those gifts isn’t easy, which is why it’s so important to pay attention. To this day I still smile when I think of the edge we gained over the other teams on the race; it was as if we had an unseen (and maybe slightly unfair) advantage of a third team member. Of course Sheryl wasn’t there, but the advice she’d given was so profoundly important.
Pay attention: that can sometimes be an incredibly difficult task. After all, when we’re under great stress, the mind doesn’t function properly. So many times on the race when Tim Jr. and I were lost and confused, unsure of what to do next, we’d be told to “read your clue.” I was continually amazed at how often we could do that and still not be any the wiser. When they told us to “read your clue,” what they really meant was “understand your clue.”
Understanding requires concentration and focus—which is so hard when you’re under stress. Stress forces us to work too fast, which in turn makes us blow past the “clues” in life that we might have otherwise put to good use. So at these times I stop, collect my wits, and take stock of the situation. I look around my life and ask the important questions: Where am I at? Where am I going? Am I going where I want to go or should be going?
These are just a few examples of how we can take a careful view of our lives and then become more deliberate about where our next steps take us. And when we learn to pay attention to the details in life, we often come away amazed at how things fall into place.
This blog post is an excerpt from the book
Perseverance: The Seven Skills You Need to Survive, Thrive, and Accomplish More Than You Ever Imagined.
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