Going Ballistic


I recently heard it said that humans could be considered ballistic beings.

What this means is that we are meant to always go forward in one direction.  Any attempt to go backwards or veer from side to side creates friction and causes us to miss the mark with our lives.  True, we can sometimes decide to change direction mid flight but not without considerable effort and a loss of velocity that is difficult to regain.  If you are constantly switching targets just forget about it, the effort required to fight against friction will kill your focus and cause you to miss everything.

Granted, like all analogies this one breaks down after a while but I think you get the point.  If humans are indeed ballistic beings, in order to remain effective we need to be aware of two things that make bullets work:  Focus and Velocity.

Focus

When a bullet is pointed at a target nothing else matters.  So it should be with us, goals are meant to be achieved.  The degree to which we are successful with our goals is largely a function of our ability to remain focused on them.  Anything that pulls is in a direction other than our intended target creates friction in our lives.  Friction slows us down and if it’s allowed to continue it will cause us to miss.

The most successful entrepreneurs in the world always have an incredible degree of focus.  They tend to be what my friend Tim once called a one note song.  Their target is all they talk about, all they think about and all they do.  But one note songs aren’t very interesting and not many people can stand to listen to them for very long.  This causes all kinds of problems, relationships suffer, physical and mental health suffers, and if allowed to go unchecked even if we hit the bull’s eye, we eventually explode and have nothing else to show for it.

Velocity

The other aspect that makes bullets work is velocity.   Speed is required in order for a bullet to maintain its trajectory.  Too slow and gravity takes over, pulling the bullet down and causing it to miss the mark.  But often forgotten about is what happens when a bullet moves too fast, it can pass right through the target and continue on until it hits something (or someone) else.  This then causes additional damage.

People who have a natural tendency to maintain a high degree of focus, like me, can sometimes get frustrated when the velocity is not up to our expectations.  The thing is, focus is almost 100% within our own control but velocity is not.  The speed with which we are able to carry out our plans usually, if not always, depends on other people.  The result is that we can only move as fast as the people around us are willing to go.  Sometimes this velocity, or lack thereof can result in a loss of focus, other times, when others catch the vision the speed with which things begin to happen can be remarkably fast.   This is what I have recently begun referring to as life at the Speed of Relationship.

So here’s the deal.

Going Ballistic in life and business requires both focus and velocity.  In order to maintain your focus you need to be able to work at a pace that keeps you engaged and on track.  But in order to maintain that pace you may also need to recruit the help of those around you and that requires some people skills.  Sometimes you will need to slow down and cultivate relationships in order to then speed up and get things done.

And remember; you can always talk faster but sometimes it pays to listen slow.

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