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  January 23, 2015
Satisfied With Field Mice?...


"Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon, July 1969 AD.  We came in peace for all mankind" 

~Inscription on a plaque left on the moon by the men of Apollo 11

Lions are well-known as the "kings of the jungle"... despite the fact that they live on the African savanna and Lionnot in the jungle.  

Also dwelling on the African grasslands can be found small field mice.

Lions, with their predator prowess, could easily catch hundreds of field mice each day if they so desired...

...but they don’t.

Instead, they instinctively know that they need to set their goals a bit higher and hunt bigger game animals such as antelope, gazelles, and zebra even though they have a significantly less probability of being successful than that of hunting field mice. 


Because, if they chose to eat strictly field mice, they would undoubtedly starve to death as field mice simply cannot feed the appetite of a hungry lion.  The lions know this so they set their sights on a more challenging goal of bigger yet more elusive prey in order to survive.

Most human beings have a somewhat different approach. 

We seem to always be looking for the easy way, a short cut, a secret formula or a magic pill that will immediately transform us.

We like to think that we work smarter rather than working harder.

The reality is however... that any type of real change requires discipline, hard work and effort.

We like to set goals... but generally the everyday type goals we set for ourselves are relatively easy to achieve or conversely we chose goals so lofty and so ill-defined that we have no real plan of action to achieve them.

In his book, Built to Last, author Jim Collins coined the phase - BHAG.  

A BHAG (bee-hag) is a Big, Hairy, and Audacious Goal.

A BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as a focal point of effort, and acts as a catalyst for action.  It has a definite time frame so there is a sense of urgency.  It has a clear finish line so you know exactly when the goal has to be accomplished.

The classic example of a BHAG was when President John F. Kennedy addressed congress on May 25, 1961, declaring to the world in no ambiguous language that America would be the first to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade.

This was by all definitions; a BHAG.  It was a big goal... something that had never been done before.  It was clear and compelling.  It had a definite time frame.  We would know without a doubt when we accomplished the goal.

The space race was on...

And on July 20, 1969, Apollo11the lunar explorer module of Apollo 11 landed on the surface of the moon.  Soon after, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldridge became the first men to set foot on the moon fulfilling the BHAG set in motion some 9 years before.

It is important to have a BHAG goal in our lives.  It gives us something to strive for and gives our life some sense of meaning.  When completed, it gives us a great feeling of accomplishment.

My friend Jack Daly has several BHAGs, including playing the 100 top rated public golf courses in America, running a marathon in every state in the union, and to compete in the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii (which he finally accomplished in 2013).

BHAGs just don’t happen.  They are a culmination of several smaller goals that are accomplished along the way. 

For instance, Jack just can’t go out and tour the country playing the top 100 public golf courses  every day.  He set his goal in playing 3-6 courses per year... time and finances permitting.

He has been working toward his goal now for approximately 15 years and is about 75% of the way there.

Invariably... if we set our goals high enough... we will find some failures and/or setbacks along the way.  There is nothing wrong with failure.

If you don’t fail... then you aren’t setting your sights high enough.

In December of 2013, I went to Utah to go skiing with my family.  I have been skiing since I was a young teenager, so it no longer presents a great challenge for me to ski down the side of a steep mountain without falling.

However up to then, I had never tried snowboarding.

So at the age of 52, I decided to push myself to learn how to snowboard.

After taking a few basic lessons from my brother-in-law Jeff, I rode the ski lift to the top of the bunny slopes to attempt to snowboard down.  After about 30 minutes, I finally finished my first run.

Along the way, I had fallen some 20 times... sometimes in spectacular fashion (I wish I actually had someone with a video camera when I did an impromptu cart-wheel on the side of the mountain stemming from a fall).

The next time I came down the bunny slopes on the snowboard, I only fell 12 times... and the time after that I fell only 6 times... and by the late afternoon, I was going up and down the mountain with relative ease.

The following day I could have stayed on the bunny slopes... but I decided that I needed a bigger challenge if I was to master my new sport... so I ventured off to bigger and bigger hills that entire next day... once again falling over and over.

However, over the course of a few days, I fell less and less by pushing myself to get better.

After two days, my body was black and blue and muscles that I didn’t even know I had, ached with pain.

Now I could have decided just to ski for a few days... I could have decided to continue snowboarding on the bunny slopes... but in doing so... I wouldn’t have challenged myself and by doing so... I wouldn’t have gotten better at something new.

Setting our sights on achieving big goals is not easy.  We all will undoubtedly fail at some point along the way... and if we don’t fail... then we aren’t stretching ourselves enough to get better.

We need to give ourselves BHAGs to work toward over several years... helping us to accomplish big things.

We need to set smaller goals along the way that will incrementally help us to our bigger goals...

We can’t be afraid of failures or setbacks as they will toughen us up and help us to get better...

Being satisfied with the mediocre is like the lion settling to eat field mice... it might be easy... but it won’t allow us to thrive...

Thank you for your support of OptiFuse as we strive to achieve our BHAG of becoming the very best circuit protection component manufacturer in the market.

Jim Kalb

Email -  jimk@optifuse.com
Website - www.optifuse.com
Blog - www.optifuse.blogspot.com 

Twitter - @OptiFuse

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