There’s this saying in car racing, “Don’t Look at the Wall.” It originated with Mario Andretti, one of the greatest racers of all time, and it refers to the fact that if racers focus on the wall instead of the road ahead of them, they will wind up drifting right into that wall.
Instead, smart racers keep their eyes on the road, even through the curves, always maintaining a focus on where they want to go. Because otherwise, you drift.
Believe it or not, the same concept could apply to so many other facets of life. You don’t have to be on a racetrack to fully understand the concept of focusing on the road ahead. Success is about keeping your eye on the prize.
This is perhaps never truer than when it comes to looking for a new job, or trying to climb the corporate ladder. The candidates who make it where they want to be are the ones who have a clear vision of what that is. They are the candidates willing to make a plan for how to get there, including attaining additional education or training if necessary. And they are the ones who remain focused on the journey to where they hope to land. They don’t look at the wall – they focus through the curve.
But what counts as walls in this scenario? Well, it could be anything that pulls you off course and causes you to drift. Personal matters outside of work that shift your focus. Conflicts with co-workers that have you struggling to do your job. Or a lack of confidence in yourself and what you believe you can accomplish.
Anything that pulls your focus from where you want to be, whether that is a recent opening or the culmination of your 10-year plan, is a potential wall. And smart candidates avoid looking at those walls when they should be focusing on the road ahead.
Does that mean you won’t ever get distracted? Of course not – life happens, and sometimes looking at the wall is inevitable. But if you have a goal in mind for that finish line, the sooner you can get your eyes back on the road, the better your chances are of getting there.
So don’t let yourself drift – not even through the curves that present themselves. Keep your eye on where you want to go, and avoid looking at the wall.
It’s the best way to make it to the finish line unscathed.