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Bahram Akradi, founder, chairman, and CEO of Life Time — Healthy Way of Life

I particularly like the freedom it affords me – and the amazing views. When I heard we were doing an issue revolving around themes of clarity, vision and focus, flying was one of the first things that came to mind.

Whether you’re headed up in a plane or coming down, visibility is a chief concern. You’re always hoping for great visibility, because when conditions are clear, your job as pilot is simplified. Your workload is reduced, and flying is a lot of fun. When visibility is poor, things can get a little more tense and complicated. You have to direct all your focus toward reaching your destination and bringing the plane down safely.

In life, too, we hope for clear conditions. And there’s a lot we can do to help create them, from keeping our bodies and relationships healthy, to building more integrity into our choices and priorities. But there will always be situations where things don’t seem so clear. And in those circumstances it can take a great deal of focus to stay on course. It demands a strong sense of vision – of knowing where you want to go – but it also takes a strong union of heart and soul to stay committed until your mission is accomplished.

It’s important to recognize, though, that there will also be times, no matter what your level of enthusiasm and focus, when you simply won’t have the resources (time, money, endurance, influence) you require to take a direct course to your destination. You may have to endure layovers and refueling stops along the way.

This can create real pain, but having a passion for your vision is what drives you through the discomfort and doubt. It’s what gives you reason to stay clear and focused in pursuit of your final goal.

All people who have had grand visions – from artists to athletes – have experienced this pain. And all of us, at one time or another, have experienced the frustration of finding ourselves slowed or off-course in our journey toward an intended destination.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that success does not, as a rule, hinge on having a perfect plan from the beginning. Rather, it hinges on aiming high, pursuing perfection while rapidly correcting the mistakes you make along the way. The more quickly you recognize and correct your mistakes, the more direct your route toward eventual success.

That’s how autopilot works, in fact:

It doesn’t pull you directly toward your chosen destination; it essentially just lets the plane fly but then makes countless, microsecond adjustments, rapidly correcting errors in trajectory as they develop. What appears to be a perfectly straight route turns out, if examined at close range, to be thousands of weaving little jigs and jags. Taken collectively, though, they are all of a single mind and headed toward a single destination.

This is the kind of focus, clarity and singular vision it takes to accomplish important goals, including goals for personal health and happiness. Our vision has to be strong enough to motivate us to take the trip in the first place. Our focus has to be powerful and accurate enough to keep all our available resources engaged. We need enough clarity to start off in the right direction. Finally, we need the courage to admit and quickly correct our mistakes.

This magazine, and the entire Life Time Fitness organization, is here to help you on your journey. Whether you’re setting fitness goals for the first time, striving to reach a new and more ambitious destination, or just getting back off the ground after a crash landing, commit to a vision that inspires you. Then, don’t take your eyes off it – even when things get cloudy and obscured, even when you get delayed or rerouted.

Use your focus to commit to your chosen path. Correct your mistakes as you discover them. Then sit back and enjoy your success.

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