I do some balancing postures as part of my yoga practice, standing on one foot while stretching my body. The people who taught me these postures said to “find a point some distance away and hold your gaze on it” while in the posture. I resisted doing this, preferring to let my eyes wander during the stretch. Besides, I know how to balance. It is just a matter of holding your body in the proper position. So, I wobbled or fell.
Now, I remind myself to choose a distinct object as a focus point: the corner of a doorway or the center of a flower. While holding the posture I often notice my eye wandering. And my body wavering. I can only regain my balance by returning my attention to the focus point. It irritates me that I cannot balance entirely by self-reference. I need to look outside for guidance [See also, coaching.].
The people who coach me in life also talk about the usefulness of declaring specific measurable outcomes and tracking my interim results. When I ignore that coaching, eventually my performance wobbles and falls. When I do focus on objective, external goals and interim results I am more stable, comfortable, and productive. Still, occasionally, I wonder if I have the right goals, whether I need to be tracking my results, and why I can not just go by my feelings. So I find myself wobbling and sometimes falling until I bring my attention outside myself to the focus points I chose.
I often resist my need for focus points yet needing them seems to be an inescapable aspect of being human. I suspect that resisting their necessity is part of our nature, too.
Our task now is not to fix the blame for the past but to fix the course for the future.
–President John F. Kennedy
Loyola College 1958
See also Gandhi on goals.