Don’t focus on the big picture

Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

Just went for a one-hour tempo run. Sets of sprints and zone 3 intervals in between the easy/recovery pace. Sun was beating down on me, +30 degrees (Celcius), and I was drenched in sweat. During one of the sprints, I was thinking about how running, once again, relates to “real life”. When you’re pushing yourself, whether it’s a 1km sprint or a marathon — you can’t focus on the big picture. If you’re thinking “I’ve just been running 1km, I have over 40km left” during a marathon — your mind will break down. It’s that powerful. Instead, you need to put your head down and find a pace that you can maintain and just find peace or flow. Just accept that this is what you’ll be doing for the next X minutes/hours/km.

In “real life”, whether you’re starting a business, working towards a promotion, your relationship, or whatever — the same mentality is needed. You never know what’s coming and what you’re going to face. If you focus on things that might happen in the future, or the big picture, too much — your mind will prevent you from even getting started.

There are so many businesses I haven’t started for this exact reason. I’ve been thinking about all the things that need to get done in the future, so I’ve ended up with a too-long to-do list and that has made me not get started at all.

There have also been times when I haven’t been thinking that way, just focusing on the next thing that needs to get done(=keeping my head down and working), and those things have progressed. Facing issues and unexpected things as they come along.

*Please note that I’m not saying you should solely focus on the next step, and not the big picture. Obviously, you need to focus on the big picture, but when it’s time to execute — then focus on the next step. I hope you see the difference*

Funny enough, after I had written the text above I listened to an episode of the Ed Mylett Show where the guest was James “Iron Cowboy” Lawrence, talking about how James did 100 Ironmans in 100 days. He explained the mindset he had to have, not thinking too far ahead. So instead of thinking “I have 96 more days/Ironmans left”, he thought about each day separately, like “I have 10 miles left of this run”. Even if what James did is on a completely different level, the same mindset still applies.



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Andreas Westerlund

Andreas Westerlund

Endurance athlete, digital nomad, nerd. Just a normal guy trying to figure out fitness, business, and life.