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The pebble in your shoe

  • Published
  • By Maj. Doug Leedy
  • 92nd Contracting Squadron Commander
Muhammad Ali said, "Often it isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the pebble in your shoe."

Sometimes the real problem in life is figuring out when to focus ones attention or when to develop a broader perspective. Success often depends on our ability to focus -- to ignore outside distractions and leverage our total effort on a single task.

Where we see some of life's biggest failures, however, are in situations in which we failed to see beyond the task at hand. For example, the bicycle racer who, with their head down, missed a turn and peddled incredibly fast in the wrong direction -- or the military commander who, while energetically and victoriously driving his forces through enemy territory, failed to plan the simplest of logistical needs and lost more soldiers to starvation than to the enemy.

Finding balance with one's perspective is a constant challenge, especially when it involves accepting short-term set-backs and acknowledging task failures. It may sound like a cliché, but every experience (especially the set-backs) is a learning experience. One grows stronger from the education.

A Japanese proverb says, "The reverse side also has a reverse side."

In hindsight, the path to failure is obvious. Success is more difficult to analyze but well worth the time.