Moving over obstacles

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A study of car accidents by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute put cameras in cars to see what happens right before an accident. They found that in 80 percent of crashes, the drivers were distracted during the three seconds preceding the incident. And since, in our daily lives, the


A mountain bike has to be moving fast enough to make it over an obstacle.The bigger the obstacle, the more momentum the bike wheel needs to roll over it.There was one big unavoidable rock, and each time I came upon it I unconsciously squeezed on my brake.I needed more speed to keep moving, so I climbed back up and did it again.I stared at the rock and picked up speed, keeping my eyes on it right to the point where I squeezed on my brakes and flipped over my handlebars again.I knew what I had to do, but I couldn’t do it.It was just too scary.As long as I was focused on the rock, I couldn’t prevent myself from braking.But I wasn’t ready to give up.So I climbed back up and tried one more time.So I would see the rock when it was ten feet away, but I wouldn’t be looking at it when I was going over it.I slid easily over the rock and made it down the chute without falling.I’m a huge proponent of living in the present.If you pay attention to what’s happening now, the future will take care of itself.But sometimes, focusing on the present is the obstacle.Take driving a car, for example.If you didn’t look ahead to see where the road was going, you’d keep driving straight and crash at the next curve.It’s the same with your day.Some days, I remind myself of me mountain biking down that chute.Doing whatever appears in front of me, when it appears in front of me.I don’t think about a meeting until I’m in the meeting.I don’t think about what’s most important to get done until, well, until it doesn’t get done.When someone appears in front of me and asks for something, that’s who I end up attending to.Even if it’s not the right priority.Effectively navigating a day is the same as effectively navigating down a rocky precipice on a mountain bike.We need to look ahead.And then follow through.You done? Win asked me, waiting not so patiently at the bottom of the chute.Yeah, I think I figured it out.Let’s go then. And with that, he was off in a blaze down the trail.Plan your day ahead so you can fly through it, successfully maneuvering and moving toward your intended destination.Bird by BirdDeciding What to DoSo how’s it going? I asked Fiorella, the head of sales at a midsize technology company that’s a client of mine.Fiorella and I speak once a week.I have a tremendous amount on my plate, she responded.What she said next surprised me.There’s so much to do, she said, that it’s hard to get anything done.Her statement surprised me, but it shouldn’t have, because I’ve experienced the same thing.But often, especially when we have too much to do, we freeze.Or we move frantically, spinning without traction.Because when there’s so much competing for attention, we don’t know where to begin, so we don’t begin anywhere.Because the greater the options, the more difficult it becomes to choose a single one, so we end up choosing none.That’s what happens when we’ve got too many things to do.We seem to be moving.But in reality, we get very little done.In those moments, we need a way to disperse the fog of overwhelm.We need to break down the tasks into chunks and begin to work through them.Some Instructions on Writing and Life.Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write.It was due the next day.Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy.Just take it

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