Tunnel Vision

Photo by Wil Stewart on Unsplash

When was the last time that you went through a tunnel? Do you recall the feeling of the dark, narrow space where all you could really see or focus on was the tunnel? Do you recall the feeling you felt when you were going through a very long tunnel and you finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel?

A tunnel can actually be a metaphor for a difficulty or a challenge that comes along on the road of life. Sometimes, the difficulty can obstruct our vision so that we develop tunnel vision.

Tunnel vision can plague us in ordinary life even when we are not physically going through a tunnel. If we allow ourselves to become centrally focused on a negative situation for a long enough period of time, then we’ll find ourselves completely consumed and limited by it.

The tunnel is simply a tool;  A means to an end. It’s a facilitator to take you from one point to another. If seen correctly, it can actually help prepare us for what’s on the other side of the tunnel. But when you have tunnel vision to the extent where all you can see or focus on is the tunnel, what do you do?

How Do You Break the Cycle of Tunnel Vision?

       Remember the Big Picture. When you’re going through a tunnel it seems like that’s all there is because it is all you can see. You don’t know how long you will be in the tunnel and even if you’re still pressing onwards it can be easy to forget to see the big picture. Enlarge your vision to see the big picture. Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t see but remain hopeful knowing that there’s still more to be seen.

       Stay Focused. Tunnel vision has a tendency to distract us and rob us of actually staying focused. As a result, we must train ourselves to become more intentional about staying focused in the midst of a tunnel knowing that it will soon open up into new territory. When we refocus we shift our attention from the negative to the positive.

      Beyond the Tunnel. We must look with eyes of faith beyond the tunnel. It’s not that we don’t see the tunnel or deny its existence but rather we see beyond it. We can’t allow ourselves to rely on what we see in the natural. We must be willing to stretch our faith to see beyond the tunnel.

None of us is immune from difficulty in life but we do have the power to choose how it will affect us. Resist the urge to develop tunnel vision in the midst of difficulty. Although the obstacle will still exist, it will no longer have power over you when viewed through the correct lens.

Just in the Knick of Time

Photo by Dieter de Vroomen on Unsplash
       Have you ever been in a hurry to get somewhere that is absolutely contingent on whether or not you’re on time?
      The doors close at 9:00am sharp or the race starts right on time or the last tickets are given to people that arrive on time or even early. Time is the one thing that no matter how much money you have in your pocket, you can never buy it back. Once a minute, hour or day is over, it is over. There’s no way to try and get it back again. And yet with the basic cognitive awareness, we still lose ourselves in the concept of time.
      We plead for time to somehow speed up during the times of drudgery or boringess (e.g. at work or waiting in line or while on the subway headed home) but yet we plead for more time in the midst of the most blissful moments (e.g. wedding day, dinner with your aging grandparents, a once in a lifetime trip). But time is not in our hands, nor does it submit to our selfish whims no matter how we try to justify it, time simply does not belong to us.
So who does time belong to? 
      You see it’s a question that you must answer for yourself at some point in time in your life. It’s not a question that anyone can answer for you, it’s up to you to answer it for yourself. We all embrace the concept that we didn’t decide when we were born, nor are we given the foreknowledge of when we will die. And when we are met with near-death circumstances, only then does it really seem that we think about it more in depth. But what if thinking of death does not fall into the grasp of sheer morbidity—what if thinking of death allows us to really make the most out of this life.
      Some say you never know what you have until it’s gone. If we don’t see the preciousness of life in light of the fact that there will be an inevitable end to it, well, how do we really know if we have allowed ourselves to live to its maximum potential. 
      We were all made uniquely. Each with a unique string of DNA that tells our body to have green eyes or brown eyes, curly hair or straight hair, brown skin or white skin. And yet somehow we forget our uniqueness and strive for the ideal of sameness, of fitting in. And yet, we were never made to be the same or to simply fit in, we were made to stand out. Each uniquely designed for good works to do by our Creator.
      So who does time belong to? And what are you doing with the time that you’ve been given. At the end of your life, there will be something said about you, have you considered what words would matter the most? Does your life now move in the direction of this?

Seeing & Embracing Your Potential

Photo by Kyle Ellefson on Unsplash

The thing about potential is that it starts off small and grows into something extraordinary. If properly nurtured it will not simply remain the same, but eventually there will be a fruitful harvest. Potential is like a seed buried in the ground. It is only a tiny fragment but when placed in the soil, buried, fed with sunlight and water, it begins to take root. But, all of the initial work begins under the surface. It is not seen and in fact, many people pass right by it never knowing that there’s actually something growing and taking root under the surface layer. Then seemingly out of nowhere, the first initial sprout of green life emerges from the surface. Delicate and small it still continues to grow above the soil while also making sure to extend its roots deeper into the ground. There is much more taking place underground than above the ground.

Is Your Potential Planted in Fertile Ground? 

Allow it to Grow: Potential means nothing if it is not applied. If a child has the potential to be an Olympic gymnast but he never practices or refuses training, how can she ever expect anything to develop from that potential? Allowing your potential to grow is making an investment on a daily basis in what you have been given.

Feed & Nurture Your Potential: Now that you’ve “planted” your potential, what active steps are you taking to let it grow? Are you attending trainings or classes to make you better qualified in your field. Do you spend your time thinking of new ways to develop your skills rather than diminish them?

Keep Investing in the Growth Process: As grueling as it may sometimes be, don’t give up on the growth process. Some days will be easier than others, where the sun is shining and all seems right with the world. Other days will make you feel like giving up and the rain and thunder clouds will ominously hang over the sky. But, there is sill progress to be made in each of these steps along the way.

Don’t Forget About Your Roots: Yes, it’s important to nurture the plant above the ground that everyone can see but don’t forget to nurture your roots. Although they remain unseen their role is critical in providing the plant with all of the nutrients it needs to stay alive and healthy. What are you doing to nurture your roots? Your roots are  what sustain you even when you are exposed to difficult circumstances and life events out of your control. Without strong roots, then the beautiful plant that you’ve become will not stand the test of the storms of life. That’s why it’s so important to know your roots. What are you grounded in? What are your absolutes?

The beauty of potential is that there’s always room for growth. It’s never too late and it’s never too soon to let your potential grow into something extraordinary. It all comes down to a choice.

What will you choose to do with your potential?