I’ve spent the past week in Mexico City strolling around parks, sitting in coffee shops, and living life at a rather leisurely pace. The quiet has given me the opportunity to gain some mental clarity amongst everything that’s happened over the past couple of months. I’ve spent time reading, praying, and reflecting on conversations, which have in turn helped recalibrate my moral compass prior to my arrival back in Austin.

During this time, I read a quote that has stuck with me and continues to keep my mind pondering: 

What you aim at determines what you see.

There is a tremendous amount of depth to these simple words and there are a variety of ways it can be interpreted.

1) Goal Visualization

One way to comprehend it is to believe the goals you set forth creates the recognition of opportunities in your day-to-day. In other words, when you visualize your success, you begin to spot opportunities that transpire.

I was talking with a friend recently who is a rockstar business leader and one of the kindest, most-caring individuals you will ever meet. Outside looking in, this woman has achieved a tremendous amount of success leading one of the fastest growing companies in the nation and being recognized as one of the top entrepreneurs in the entire country.

I asked her what her secret to success was. She responded that, for years, she’s had a vision board hanging on her wall, which she looks at on a consistent basis. In doing so, she’s become acutely aware of her goals and the day-to-day opportunities needed in order to achieve them.

I think it’s important to have a visualization of your goals. Not just in terms of picturing yourself knocking the ball out of the park when you step up to bat, but also having your goals as a reminder in front of you. This is the impetus behind my Daily Journaling Template.

My former company also helped me create a dream board, which sits next to my workstation. It’s a reminder of the bigger picture things I hope to one day accomplish, slowly but surely. As I look at it, I’m more cognizant of opportunities that help me get closer to achieving these goals.

2) Dream BIG…ger.

The second way I’ve interpreted this quote is by recognizing I need to dream bigger. How often do we set subpar goals for ourselves simply because we’re trying to mitigate our risk of failure? Instead of trying to run a marathon by the end of the year, we make it a 5k. Instead of impacting 1MM people’s lives, we settle for 100. I think part of why we fail to set big goals is because we don’t believe we’ll accomplish them.

But if “what we aim at determines what we see” then the size of our goals and dreams represents the size of our faith — in God, ourselves, humanity, you name it. If you set big goals, you begin to recognize bigger opportunities. 

This has been notable revelation for me as I’m beginning to grasp just how much I’ve unintentionally held myself back by setting subpar standards. 

Yes, I set goals, but they’re not outrageous. And I want to have seemingly outlandish goals where I can look back on and be wow-ed.

3) Perspective

Lastly, this quote reminds me that we all operate with our own biases and personal agenda. When we’re laser focused on a specific target, we miss what’s happening in our peripheral. 

It’s important to seek parity from the individuals you surround yourself with. Find people who don’t operate in the same manner as you and balance out facets of your life that fall within your inevitable blind spots. I’m achievement-oriented and analytical, meaning there is an emotional and relational component of my personality that is lacking. There are people in my life who excel in these areas and help point out when my “aim” is a few degrees off course. I don’t always do the best job of listening, but I owe these individuals much more credit than they get and want to continually make an effort to foster these relationships.

In Conclusion

Aim big and see your vision played out. Surround yourself with people who want to help you get there. They may not always see the same things as you do, often times they won’t, but don’t let that inhibit you from doing bigger things than you already are. 

The future is like the past but with one main crucial difference: The past is fixed, but the future — it could be better.