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November 13, 2007 » 9:35 pm

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

A great story from last week’s Tuesday Morning Quarterback, by Gregg Easterbrook:    (MOQ)

Once, in Silicon Valley, I heard Joe Costello — a founding light of “electronic design automation” and now CEO of the lowercase think3 — give a talk about the difference between seeking success and avoiding failure. Studies of crashes during aircraft landings under difficult circumstances, he said, showed that pilots who made bad mistakes when approaching an airfield and crashed, but lived to tell the tale, reported that they had been focused on avoiding obstacles. Pilots who made difficult landings without incident reported they had focused solely on the runway. Business and artistic success, Costello continued, follow the same pattern. Setbacks result from constantly trying to avoid obstacles, worrying about what might go wrong. Achievement results from keeping your eyes glued to the prize and endlessly repeating to yourself, “I can do this.” Or, as I once wrote, “Keep your gaze in the distance, and though you will stumble, you will reach your destination.”    (MOR)

Easterbrook told this story in regards to Adrian Peterson‘s ridiculous game against the Chargers last week:    (MOS)

Watch tailbacks: Most are darting their heads from side to side trying to figure out where problems are. Peterson says he is always looking at the goal line and driving his legs, ignoring tacklers. His runs have this quality: maximum power toward the goal line, pay no attention to the obstacles. The great Walter Payton once said he could never remember the numbers of those who hit or missed him because he was looking down the field and the rest was a blur. (That’s a paraphrase.) Peterson seems to have this same success-focused running style, plus he’s bigger and faster than Payton was.    (MOT)

It applies to aircraft landings, it applies to football, and it applies to life. (Would be nice to get a source on the aircraft study; if anyone has a link, please let me know.)    (MOU)

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