Sam Radford

July 7, 2022

Don't lose sight of the present

This post references sport but if sport isn’t your thing, don’t worry, the point is not about sport. Stay with me!

Sport is simply the backdrop for this idea.

Eddie Jones is the head coach of England rugby side. For the last couple of years the side has struggled with poor form and lots of defeats.

He is still head coach though and his focus is on getting England ready to try and win the Rugby World Cup next year.

He has, throughout his tenure, focussed on World Cups. And, fair enough, last time around, England made the final. 

But World Cups only happen every four years. Is it sensible to focus on such infrequent events at the expense of the moments—matches—happening right now?

England are currently in the middle of a three match series against Australia. They play the second match on Saturday having lost the first. Speaking ahead of that match, here is what Jones had to say:

This game is the perfect practice for the World Cup.

In other words, in Jones’s mind, even if they lose it doesn’t matter because they’re preparing for the World Cup.

Everything about this feels wrong to me. It is good to have a long-term goal, but that must never stop you fully committing to the moment facing you right now.

One of the intriguing aspects to my local rugby side’s success this season has been a refusal to talk about their league position and only focus on the game ahead. Leicester Tigers ended up winning the league. 

If you take care of the game or challenge or moment right in front of you, and then do the same again, and again, and again, you’ll find yourself reaching loftier goals. But if you get so caught up in a future goal that the game or challenge or moment in front of you becomes inconsequential, then you are actually damaging the chances of hitting those bigger goals.

It’s fine to aim big, but don’t so focus on those bigger, future aims that you undermine both your present and future by not fully committing to the opportunities right in front of you. Don’t get ahead of yourself. If you keep losing the battles you’re facing now, you’ll never win the war.

—Sam

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