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No. 550 / Execute. re: don't aim at success

Here’s how most interviews with Gregg Popovich go:

“What does your team need to do to overcome this deficit?”
”We’ll need to execute.”

“A rough second quarter, what are they doing defensively to slow you down?”
”They’re executing better than we are.”

“Your team was down 10, now up 15, what was the difference in the third quarter?”
”We executed.”

Now, this may be an oversimplification, but what if it’s not? We get so caught up on the score, the results, that we forget our assignments when it matters. Sure, every now and then, take a step back and have the end in sight, but let your constant focus be on executing today.

Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it
— Viktor E. Frankl

Keeping your eyes on the prize gets distracting. It is possible to look too far ahead too soon—you just might miss the pitfall right in front of you.

P.S. For more, read: The Score Takes Care of Itself, and Man’s Search for Meaning.