Seeing the Light vs. Tunnel Vision

A writer is always looking for motives and goals that take characters down the desired path, often with a detour towards disaster along the way to success. In real life, we don’t want to veer away from the right path. But sometimes it’s hard to see our goal, especially when everything seems dark around us. We get tunnel vision and, being short sighted, we miss some great opportunities because we don’t recognize things and people that can help us along the way.

I’m on vacation in Alaska, and we decided to drive through the train tunnel to Whittier. Just as in life, it was hard to see light at the end of the tunnel because it was very long. Some tunnels curve. There are other reasons we can’t always see the light, but assuming it’s finished, every tunnel and every journey has an end.

Why don’t some people journey through life with the distant future in mind? I won’t mention thename of the killer at the Batman premier in Colorado as suggested in this CBS Boston commentary. Whatever other mental problems the killer had, he certainly didn’t take the long view when he suggested prison dating. Going to prison as an inmate isn’t a worthy goal for anybody. People with the right end in mind don’t try to start down a track towards a disaster.
So what made this guy derail? What bump or curve took him off the track and sent him crashing into the tunnel wall? Was there even a real bump or did he imagine something that wasn’t there? Does psychoanalyzing after the fact help anything? I think it does, if it puts even one other person back on track. 
I waited until we got back to Anchorage to post the video I couldn’t upload earlier. It shows us traveling down the train tunnel by car and coming out at the end into daylight. It was such a long tunnel I gave up on filming the entire length. But I did turn my phone to the side to show how dark the tunnel was beside the car. 

I can’t help but wonder how things would have turned out if the killer in the theater had read the late Steven R. Covey’s book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. There’s a summary at QuickMBA
The first three habits of highly effective people establish their  move from dependence to independence. 

Habit 1: Be Proactive
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Habit 3: Put First Things First 

I don’t think this guy ever qualified as fully independent because he seemed to blame others for his own failures. And if he had an end in mind, it sure wasn’t the right end.

Habits 4, 5, and 6 address interdependence, recognizing that our modern society works best for team players and their leaders: The killer certainly never got here. 
Habit 4: Think Win/Win
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Habit 6: Synergize

If you haven’t read Steven R. Covey’s book, now would be a good time. You can find it by clicking My Amazon store tab at the top of my blog.

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. That’s an accurate way to describe it – what derailed him? What goes wrong in the life and mind of anyone who does evil?

    • I wish I knew, but I doubt we’ll ever find out the defining moment. Now that I got my tunnel video to post, it’s very short compared to the entire journey. And what if somebody changed the light at the opposite end?

  2. I would never go on vacation to Alaska. It’s too remote and cold there.

    • Believe it or not, we only had bad weather the first two days of a whole week. Ninety-five percent of the populace lives in Anchorage, so it doesn’t seem remote unless you drive there.

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