Look backwards to move forward

I once read when you shouldn’t follow the ball when you watch tennis. Watch the players. See how they move and what they do before the ball gets to them. It will tell you a world more about how they play the game. We all want to know where the ball goes, but what we need to figure out is what to do before getting to the ball in the first place.

They say you’ll go where you’re looking. But if you’re not getting where you want to go, stop looking at other people’s results. By nature, we see our own process, but others’ results. Look backwards. Unearth the process. Ask yourself what those you admire did differently. Find out how they approached it. Infer it from their work, read about them, learn about it. What were the specific steps they went through? What guided them to go the direction they did? What were their inspirations, and how did they use them? Why did it work for them and not for others? Dig, dig, dig.

In the end, you’re not trying to find out how you can do the same thing as them. You’re trying to find out what they would do if they were you. And, in reality, not even that. You’re really trying to find out what you would do if you were you. Targeting a result locks you in to just being a copy of someone else. Targeting a process lets you grow and change as you find the real you.

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