Life Lessons From the Barn: Look Where You Want to Go

March 27, 2017

So many lessons I’ve learned in riding can be neatly applied to the rest of my life. Take this deceptively simple instruction: Look where you want to go.

In riding, and even when leading a horse, if you’re unsure about where you want to go, or even just not paying attention, the horse can take over. You may or may not want to go where he does, so you’d better stay focused!  Don’t look at the ground (unless you want to meet it, abruptly) or at the horse himself. Look where you want to go. The act of turning your eyes in the direction you want to travel causes tiny changes in body position sending information to your horse, and making it much easier to steer him. (I’ve also heard race car drivers are told never to look at the wall—unless they want to crash into it!)

You can waste a lot of time looking in directions that don’t propel you forward into your desired happy life. Maybe you spend too much time looking back, regretting things you’ve done or opportunities missed. Maybe you stare at the blemishes in your life—the daily irritants, the painful experiences, all the stuff you wish was different. You might even be mesmerized by the things that scare you—afraid to take your eyes from them long enough to move head. I know I’ve turned my eyes in these less-than-helpful directions plenty of times.

So where should you look?

Look for opportunities. Look for someone who has already gone where you want to go—what path did they take? No two paths are identical, but you can often get some hints about where to go next from someone who has walked the path before you.

Look for inspiration, look for humor, look for happy.

Yes, you’ve got to back up your looking with action, but the first step is always—you guessed it—look where you want to go.

Where do you want to go? Are you looking in that direction?

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  1. Dear Kathy - some very sage and important advice here. Especially about looking ahead and not back. Thanks for such a wise post friend. Hope your week is off to a great start. Hugs!

  2. Well, thanks, Debbie. Hope you have a super week, too. I always appreciate your stopping by and sharing your kind comments.

  3. Love this post! I find that my answer varies...I want to travel and I want balance. I want serenity and I want adventure. Not that those are necessarily opposing forces, but serenity and adventure don't usually hang out together and travel usually throws a lot of things OUT of balance due to the very nature of travel. Maybe if I did more traveling, it wouldn't be such an "event."

    As for looking in that direction? Some days. Other days, I'm scurrying around trying to find my head!

    If I ever pull it all together, I'm gonna rule the world...or at least mine own! 😃

  4. Laure--Glad you liked it! Hmmm, the whole opposing goals thing is an issue. It can keep us zig zagging around for sure. If you get it figured out, please do share!

  5. I also love this lesson! Perhaps I better not ride a horse at this time, as I do not have the certaintly about where I am going...But I will focus on looking ahead, and looking at the positive, and try to let other stuff go... You are lucky to have your life with your horse...I think you find lessons often...

  6. I love this post, it's so apt in a world where we are surrounded with gadgets designed to distract us and adverts telling us what we should want from life. That's before we get to people wanting to impose their own agenda!

    It's funny, but I just read a post by someone on keeping their focus as they work. They use electronic post-its with a title saying "what are you working on right now"? That way Facebook and clickable ads won't distract them from working towards their daily personal goals. This may seem like such a small thing, but I suppose online distractions are the stone in the road that constantly threatens to move your horse off the path.

  7. Rita--It's true, you do need your wits about you around horses, and I've paid the price of not looking where I want to go in the past. I wish you success in looking forward, letting go of what you don't need and focusing on the positive. I agree that I'm very lucky to have my horse, and all the many things he's taught me. He's one of the very best things I've ever had in my life.

  8. CeeKay--Welcome, and thank you for commenting! Others telling us what we should focus on, and all the many distractions of 21st century life--those are both challenging issues to cope with. We just have to keep trying, and to refocus when we lose our way.