Henry Ford once said, “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”
I have a great story about this. It involves a trash can and a hair dryer cord.
In our bathroom at home, the trash can sits under a shelf. Cathy, my wife, keeps her hair dryer on the shelf. The cord loops down in front of the trash can.
Being the frustrated NBA player I am, and also being a normal guy who turns even the most mundane things into sport, I make a game of tossing my used tissues into the trash can. For the longest time, I focused on the hair dryer cord as I tried to swish my tissue into the waste basket. I hit the cord almost two-thirds of the time, missing my game-winning shot in the 7th game of the NBA Finals.
The day after I saw the Henry Ford quote, I started focusing on the waste basket opening – which is a lot bigger than the hair dryer cord anyway – and I swished the shot; thereby winning the Denver Nugget’s first NBA championship.
I kept doing this in the days that followed, and I ended up with more NBA championships than Red Auerbach, Phil Jackson, Bill Russell, John Havlicek, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippin, Kobe Bryant, and Shaq combined. I couldn’t miss – all because I kept focused on the goal (the trash can), not the obstacle (the hair dryer cord).
This may sound like a stupid story told by an overgrown adolescent. It’s not. It makes an important point. When I tried to avoid the obstacle, I hit it very frequently. When I tried to hit the goal and ignored the obstacle, I began making the shots – achieving my goal. And that’s what you need to do, too. Keep focused on your goals. Don’t take your eyes off of them because you’ll begin seeing all of the obstacles to achieving them.
The career success point here is simple. Successful people achieve their goals because they stay focused on them. They follow the advice in Tweet 85 in my career advice book, Success Tweets. “Always be on the lookout for new ideas. Find opportunities where others see obstacles.” Obstacles often are opportunities in disguise. Successful people see opportunities where others see obstacles. And, as Henry Ford said, “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eye off the goal.” Keep focused on your goals and you’ll be able to turn obstacles into opportunities.
Read more posts by Bud Bilanich, Ed.D., The Common Sense Guy, a career success coach, leadership consultant, motivational speaker, bestselling author and influential blogger for JenningsWire.