Why YOUR Vision is more powerful than YOUR Goals

written by john c ashworth

john c ashworth – salesman, copywriter, bohemian athlete

We cannot hold on to that which no longer works for us and expect new and better things to come into our lives. Start releasing that which does not serve you…

Most of us are familiar with the idea of becoming more magnetic, or more attractive. In other words, finding ways to make yourself a more attractive personality that makes you irresistible in all aspects of your life. A more subtle idea is discovering how to create a vacuum that either pulls you forward or pulls good things toward you.

Now, before you stop reading because those two ideas sound like the same thing, I encourage you to stick around for a few minutes, because the distinction between these two ideas is profound.

It helps if you think of this as the difference between pushing and pulling. Because while you can in fact push your way through life, make yourself more magnetic, and strive to make constant progress toward your goals, leading you to opportunities more forcefully; this can also be exhausting and eventually lead to burnout. The extra effort comes at a cost.

I’m not saying this effort isn’t also important at times. I’m saying that there is also another way. One that is less costly, more rewarding, and in my experience thus far, important for your long-term health and success.

Back when I was a young man and a world-class athlete (see the photo below form the archives), we talked a lot about finding and being in ‘the zone.’ In fact, I still have an old poster of the late Tony Gwynn hanging around in the ash flash creative cave that features this idea and how Tony and other athletes described this incredibly alluring and purely zen-like state of mind, and how that clarity allowed them to perform at extremely high levels.

I can still remember myself on multiple occasions on the soccer field, in the zone. Often in very big games, scoring incredible goals and wondering how it could have felt so easy to do and why everything else around me seemed to go into a quiet reverie that left me and me alone with the time and space to do something courageous and magnificent. In fact, many of those moments are still very clear in my mind today, 35+ years later. Incredible.

I have heard others describe this to me as being in ‘the flow.’ And I’ve experienced that too. The times and places in your life when everything seems to make sense, you’re able to find great joy in everything that you do, and you’re not distracted or frustrated by the things you can’t control. Opportunities present themselves with little or no effort. I have produced many great successes in other areas of my life when I’ve found myself in this state.

Of course, the key is in cultivating the right life habits so that you find yourself in this zone or flow as often as possible. Creating a vacuum that pulls you forward will help you do just that. Below, I’ve shared a few more ideas and actions that might help you achieve this glorious state of mind. But first, let’s talk just a little bit about the importance of your vision.

Vision is more powerful than goals in pulling you forward.

Vision is more powerful than goals in pulling you forward. It is a much more comprehensive idea and less restricting. There is nothing wrong with goals, but you need to remember that goals are something you generally strive toward and as such they cost more emotionally and physically.

One of the biggest challenges with goals is that they focus your attention on the future and often distract you from staying present and connecting with the people and activities that you are involved in right now. And it is the here and now where you have the best chance to lock yourself into the zone and experience optimal flow in your life. Not in the future. In fact, if you accept the idea that attachment is the true source of all suffering in life, then you will see how careful you must be with your goals, which not only focus your attention away from now, but also reinforce your attachment to wanting things to be different.

Goals are important, but your vision will set you free.

Your vision creates a level of clarity that you can already see and embrace fully, which ultimately allows you more space and energy from which your present moment can pull ideas, people, events, opportunities, and new and interesting adventures that you will have the confidence to embrace because you are so clear about your vision.

Creating your vision allows you to focus on the present moment and everything you need to do right now to help foster the on-going development of that vision.

See the difference?

When you think about it this way, you begin to see much more clearly how all of the following actions will help you create the life and career you really want. For now, I’ll just share the list with you. Over time, I’ll share more details about how I relate to some or all of these ideas; and how they’ve really helped me in my own life. Some of them will be detailed in the book I’m working on right now.

This is an excellent list of stuff that I do regularly and that helps me tremendously.

  • Find opportunities and environments that promote your creativity
  • Surround yourself with people who bring out your best.
  • Say and share ideas that occur to you even if they are not true yet – this takes great courage and personal trust, but the result is very often transformational.
  • Invite and create conflict from which solutions will arise.
  • Experiment more with yourself – including ideas, products, life, companies, situations, feelings, and words. This creates more opportunity and one or more of these new experiments will lead you to something pretty great.
  • Unhook yourself from who you were – this one is so important and often very hard to do. But once again, will release you from attachment and suffering in ways that are astoundingly profound.
  • Stop diluting the truth – tell the truth about something even if you can’t yet see any way to do anything about it. Because diluting the truth stops energy from flowing and stops your personal progress in ways that are often hard to see until you’re willing to stand up and speak the truth.

Be courageous today!


John Ashworth – just prior to training camp circa 1991
“If you build it, he will come…”

[video] I use this Move as a bench-mark for my personal fitness over 50 program

new shoes on the ash flash

produced and written by john c ashworth

from the fitness over 50 files…

Today, I put together for you a short history of an exercise move I like to use as a benchmark for my fitness program. I’m currently working on another article and post about the importance of bench-marks in your fitness program, but wanted to get these videos up first.

I find it interesting to note the comparisons. I first recorded this bench-mark in 2013. I definitely look stronger and fitter three years later in 2016, and also today in 2019. I definitely look a little leaner in 2016. Some work to do there 🙂

My body feels differently today for sure, but I appear to have made some nice incremental improvements since 2013. Unnoticeable until taking the opportunity to compare these videos. Pretty cool.

Especially for those of us committed to fitness over fifty, personal bench-marks are important. That article I’m working on, along with all the chores, is in progress and I will post either later today or tomorrow depending on how the day goes. If you want regular updates about the release of articles like this one, you can subscribe to the ash flash. I would love to have you 🙂

Don’t let yourself slip backward from where you are today, and when you do, take immediate action to correct the trend. Focus on that daily action, and not you failure to maintain it 100% of the time. You’re human and life is tough some times. Do what you can and establish fitness bench-marks that you can keep for the long run.

Imagine for a moment how cool it will be if I can still do this when I’m 60, 65, 70+…

I like to use a variety of movements as bench-marks to keep me on track and to help me guide my fitness progress and progression. Those will be revealed in that next article.

First, here’s yesterday’s Box Jump – higher than in 2013 and about even with 2016, I think. Although a little more unforgiving prop so the risk was higher.

John C Ashworth – fitness over 50 expert

Here’s what the box jump looked like back in 2016

And here is what the box jump looked like back in 2013.

john c ashworth
laura ashworth walking with allie
Laura & Allie on a hot summer walk in the neighborhood

from the exercise database: Box Jumps

Sunday Ideas for inspiration

impatients blooming

…this idea originally posted on July 21st, 2019 – added to “when the spirit moves me.” -John

Hello there,

Thanks for stopping by.

John Ashworth here…

john c ashworth

Seemed like a good idea today to start this list. I’ll come back to add items “as the spirit moves me.” That’s how an old fitness client I coached used to describe his running routine. “I go when the spirit moves me, John.”

I always remembered that, because it resonates with me in my own on-going pursuit of fitness over 50.. One faces many challenges in this pursuit.

Where does that drive to exercise come from?

I’m not entirely sure, but I’m sure glad I have it. And I do everything I possibly can to cultivate its continued presence.

Sunday ideas for inspiration

OK, a good run or long walk are two great Sunday ideas to start with, but I want to share at least one other idea here that might inspire you today.

Get yourself a copy of this book,

The Go-Giver. A little story about a powerful business idea.

written by Bob Burg and John David Mann

Feel better?

Me too.

Peace! …and happy sunday 🙂


PS Before I go. Here’s one more I have not had much time to explore as much as I want to yet but has already enlightened me on multiple occasions.

Brain Pickings
Brain Pickings has a free Sunday digest of the week’s most interesting and inspiring articles across art, science, philosophy, creativity, children’s books, and other strands of our search for truth, beauty, and meaning. 

Finally, here is a great and inspiring list of ideas for actions you can take on Sunday that will catapult your Monday and more.

  1. Clean your fridge. Toss everything that’s questionable
  2. Clean out your car
  3. Clean our your purse, handbags, and briefcases. Lunch boxes too if you carry one. And you should be…
  4. Prepare health snacks and plan for them each day
  5. Prepare your Monday morning breakfast on Sunday
  6. Put some food in the crockpot or instant cooker for dinner today and leftovers tomorrow at lunch
  7. Drink plenty of water today
  8. Write your Monday morning to-do list
  9. Map your weekly goals
  10. Don’t forget to take some time for yourself and do NOT feel guilty about it! This can include your yoga class, walking, exercise, or just some time on the front porch with your favorite book and a tall glass of something cold and is anything other than alcohol.
  11. Make time to catch-up with family and friends
  12. Clean your closet.
  13. Put your wardrobe in order.
  14. Iron your clothes in advance.
  15. Iron your shorts
  16. Iron a few t-shirts – it just feels good
  17. Check the weather and plan your wardrobe for the week too.
  18. Make sure your gym clothes and gym bag are in order too. Got enough shampoo? Clean towels? Lotion? You know the drill. And if you don’t, let’s make it happen.
  19. Get your trash ready for pick-up Day. Mine gets picked-up on Tuesday but it’s always nice not to have to worry about it on Monday evening.
  20. Get off the couch and get outside. Go on a hike. Sit on your porch. Mow your lawn. Do something outside.
  21. Read The Ash Flash to stay inspired for the week.
  22. Treat yourself to something nice. Report back with your ideas. I’m always looking for inspiring ways to check this one off the list.

email is NOT DEAD. College is NOT required…and everyone is lying to YOU about success.

Email is NOT Dead. College is NOT required. And EVERYONE is lying to you about success.

written by john c ashworth

My son Carl was bemoaning his boredom at work this week during dinner last night. A common complaint when summer starts, his hours increase, and the realities that come with the working life begin to show themselves a little more clearly.

I shared with him something I heard from one of my old sales managers in the car business. He had been having a similar conversation with his daughter. Unlike Carl who is just beginning his career, she was already working as a physician, and already complaining of boredom.

“All jobs get boring eventually.” That’s what Lance had said and I’ll never forget it.

Stick around long enough. Work hard enough. Jump from one line of work to another. Soon, you’ll discover that it’s true. Work can get boring. Heck, life can get boring. It reminds me of a bit Jerry Seinfeld did when I went to see him at the overture center here in Madison.

“Life’s not too short. It’s far too long.” And then in his unique and genius way went on to make a pretty strong argument about it while detailing all of the mundane things we must do in order to get to the good stuff. The moments that make it all worth it.

As one example, I try not to think about how much of my life I spend preparing for my swim workouts at the gym. Preparing or being prepared in advance with swim bag loaded in the car. Driving there. Scanning my membership card. Making my way to the locker room. Undressing. Showering. Swimming. And then ultimately returning to take part in the exact reverse of the same ritual. I swim 4-5 days per week. That’s a lot of the same boring routine over and over again to make that happen.

Yes! Work and life get boring. That’s why mindfullness and meditation are so important.

But there is something else that’s very important about this story and it has to do specifically with your ability to do boring things consistently so that you can be successful in whatever it is that you do. Because inevitably, your work and your life will get boring at times and your ability to overcome the lethargy that can so quickly fill this void will be your decision to simply keep going. Keep fighting. Keep moving. Keep exercising. Keep calling. Keep marketing. Keep selling. And keep preventing yourself from being numbed into a sense of complacency that can leave you feeling bored, lost, and groping for something new when what you really need to do is stay focused on the job right in front of you.

No. College is NOT required and won’t prepare you for this.

Here’s what I like to do to fight this sometimes daily battle.

First, every year I choose three words to guide me. No. There is no substitute for writing goals, but I have found this particular habit extremely helpful over the years for many reasons. I won’t go into all of them right now. What I want you to understand about this habit I’ve formed is that while it might not seem like a lot to just come up with three words, if you’re really choosing wisely, you might be surprised how long it takes you to decide on them. It’s hard to choose only three. Which teaches you something all on its own. And I guarantee you will be even more surprised at how much three little words can help keep you on track when you get bored, lost, scared, or distracted from what it is you really want to accomplish. Your mission.

Second, I write. I produce content. I communicate with my followers, subscribers, colleagues and customers. And I exercise every single day without fail. I also get up very early in the morning and read, write, ice my back, stretch and take some very quite personal time to reflect on what is needed that day.

Yes! More meditation and yoga are currently missing from this list, but I have not been that good about either of them lately so I left them off and then shared that with you as a means of reminding my innner conscious mind of their importance to me. Now that I’ve done that it’s very likely I will be led back to them more frequently in the coming months. Almost certain, in fact.

It is this second thing I just mentioned that I want to elaborate on before I go today. That I write and I communicate with you through my blog, facebook, instagram and weekly email broadcasts to subscribers because it helps me just as much as I hope it helps you from time to time.

Doing this does force a different kind of meditation that is grounded in my own personal connection with my mission here on The Ash Flash and how it is driven by the stories, insights and inspirations that pass through me and onto this page.

I’m NEVER bored when I write. I’m NEVER scared when I write. I’m NEVER more engaged with my own mind and everything that passes through than when I write, communicate, and share with you here. That’s why I appreciate you being here so much.

Should you be interested, I want you to know that I can help you build this same kind of communication engine in your own business and I can teach you how to use it to sell more stuff. I’ve been doing it for years now, and I continue to do it in my current line of work as a salesman. The process is powerful in many ways. Both personally and professionally. This body of work and expertise is a sales process that just keeps getting better all the time.

The larger point I want to make before this post gets too long, though, is this…

Everyone is lying to you about success, because no one is sharing with you all of the boring details about what it took to get them where they are today. Just remember that every time you see, read or hear something that seems a little too good to be true. It probably is. In fact, this guy who crushed it on Jeopardy this year is a great example of what I’m talking about. I plan to write more about that another time. He topped the $2-Million Mark during 27 consecutive appearances on the show, but he spent a lifetime developing and honing the skills and expertise that allowed him to succeed. That allowed him the courage to play the game the way he did.

He practiced answering questions in his own living room while wearing dress shoes to get in the right mindset.

I love that story.

…and likely, until I shared it with you, you probably were not aware. You probably have not had the time to read, like I have, all about how he made himself into a success on Jeopardy.

Work gets boring. Life gets boring.

The key is to keep going. Keep studying. Keep practicing. Keep living. Keep fighting.

Keep putting your dress shoes on and going to work.


PS In my current role as a salesman for a fast-growing technology company, I don’t have to wear dress shoes most days. I do, however, still wear the same McDonald’s visor every single day (pictured below). I do this for three important reasons.

First, it does help keep the bright light out of my eyes at the computer. We work in a beautiful space with a lot of natural lighting.

Second, it’s a cool visor.

Third, wearing it has become a ritual and helps me achieve the mindset I need to cultivate to be successful in my job. Could I still cultivate that mindset without the hat? Of course, but why not find the things and the ways you need that will inspire you and help make your work and your days more fun, more engaging and more productive?

Go get em’!