A few days before the Kentucky Derby I took the girls to Churchill Downs to watch the horses train. While there we had some family with us that knows a lot about horses and they taught the girls some things. One of those things was that the horses wear blinders so they won’t get distracted by the horses running near them. This was pretty interesting to me so I did a little research and quickly realized how great it would be if people could wear blinders too.
The Dallas Equestrian Center broke down the explanation in a way that showed me three ways blinders could benefit me as well.
1. Blinders help you stay on course
“So, horses have peripheral vision, which means they can end up running off course unless they are made to remain focused.” (Dallas Equestrian Center)
I can’t tell you how many times I have started on the course to something I knew I was supposed to do and then was distracted by something else that took me off course. Here is what this looks like: I would have a great idea for a business that I wanted to pursue starting. Then, as I started to put information together for it I came across another idea. There were people finding success in this other area so I started to tailor my first idea to incorporate some of idea #2. In the end, all it did was distract me from what I really wanted to do.
Here are some ways we can add “blinders” to our lives to help us stay on course:
- Set goals – This is an unpopular thing to do because we are afraid of failure. If we set real goals than we have to also admit if we don’t accomplish them. But, goal setting is the ONLY real way to stay on course. Goals give you something concrete to focus on.
- Establish priorities – Businesses do this by creating a mission statement. When they have a clear mission statement in place every decision they make for the business can be measured against this “mission” to see if it aligns. If it doesn’t then it probably isn’t a good fit for the company. If it does then they can move forward. You can create a mission statement for your life as well.
- Find accountability – For whatever reason, we are often not motivated enough to keep ourselves going towards our goals on our own. However, if we have someone else that knows our goals and we are accountable to it can change everything. Accountability helps us become laser-focused on doing what we set out to do.
2. Blinders help us focus on the future
Race horses aren’t the only horses that wear blinders. “Farming horses can also be predisposed to distractions and if they are pulling a plow or a wagon they might need blinders to stop them from losing concentration on the direction they are supposed to be headed. The blinders cover the rear vision of the horse, forcing it to look only in a forward direction and keeping it on track.” (Dallas Equestrian Center)
How many times does out past distract us from our future? Some horses that are pulling plows or wagons need to have blinders so they won’t focus on the thing they are pulling, but keep their eyes on where they are going. We often have things in our past that we are dragging along behind us. And, whatever that thing is can often distract us from moving forward.
Here are some ways we can put blinders on when it comes to our past:
- Ask forgiveness – If you have hurt someone in your past you may need to ask forgiveness of them to truly put it behind you. It isn’t your decision whether they decide to forgive you or not, but once you have done your part you can begin to leave that in the past and work on making better decisions while moving forward.
- Forgive yourself – Sometimes the person that we need to forgive is ourselves. Guilt and shame will not allow you to focus on your future so it’s time to rid your life of them. If you are guilty of something go back up to the “Ask forgiveness” step, but after that forgive yourself.
- Remind yourself that your past is not your future – Whatever happened in your past, whether it was something you did or something done to you, it does not have to be your future. Each new morning you have the option of what you are going to focus on and what you are going to let guide you.
- Learn from failure, don’t let it stop you – So, you failed in the past—so what? Everyone else has too. Stop letting your past failures keep you from your future success.
3. Blinders help us overcome fear
“Blinders are also useful to reduce the chances of the horse being spooked and making a run for it while still attached to the wagon.” (Dallas Equestrian Center)
How many times have you allowed fear to scare you off course? No matter what you are working towards in life there will be fears that come along. That is why you need to keep your eyes on your goal. Don’t focus on the fear when it comes your way. As you continue moving forward and doing the things you were afraid to do the fears will start to fall behind you. But, don’t be fooled, more will come in the future. Each time you step into something new there will be new fears, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep going.