Forget About “Staying On-Track”

Forget about staying on track.

Because train wrecks still happen. 

We say we’re “on track” but what we mean is we’re “on schedule.”

That works for metrics and quotas in business or a road trip. 

It DOES NOT work for human beings to improve themselves. 

When you’re “On-track” you’re winning, and winning boosts your serotonin. Taking steps is easy for the winner.

When you’re off-track, you’re losing. You’re in mid-fall, and that boosts cortisol. It’s harder to take steps when you’re a loser.  

“I’m on track most of the time.” means “I’m a winner most weekdays, but a loser at night, or when I go out to eat and on weekends .”  

Both the winner and the loser live inside of you at all times, and your interpretation of your choices determines which one you embody. Switching between the two is a roller coaster on track to exhaustion.

So what do you do about that? 

Observe. Step back. Zoom out. 

Humans don’t develop on tracks.

We fail greatly. 

We seek what lights us up and brings us joy, sometimes with success. Sometimes we find misery and learn how to become better seekers. 

We close our eyes, fumble around in the darkness, and crash into things. That’s called exploring. 

We bump into information and determine what to do with it. 

Can we build with it? 

Can we make ourselves stronger with it?

It’s not a train ride through self-improvement.

It’s more like a pinball machine where you are the ball, bouncing off all of these triggers and boundaries, racking up points that improve your high score. Some triggers don’t give as many points as others and you learn what to aim for. #winner Falling between the paddles ends the round, so you learn to avoid that in order to keep racking up points, but it’s going to happen. #loser

 So what do you do about that?

Be a player. You can’t rack up points if you don’t play. You can’t win if you don’t send the ball back in. And you can’t do that if you’re focused on the end of the next round instead of the points you’ll earn while you play. 

So you pull back on the plunger, let go, and send the ball back into the game again, better for having played the last round and ready to rack up more points in this one.


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