Wednesday, January 27, 2021

WEDNESDAY WISDOM: Where Are You Headed?


“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who'll decide where to go.” Dr. Seuss

Nothing is more disheartening on a road trip than getting lost. I can clearly recall the frustration of becoming disoriented or “turned around” in some places, and how vulnerable and stupid I felt in those moments. Nothing seemed to make sense and every move I made appeared to create more confusion.

Being bewildered or flummoxed in the journey of life is like that. On those occasions when I felt I had lost my sense of direction and purpose, the world seemed gray and every turn seemed to take me nowhere. I felt insecure and I worried that others could easily take advantage of me. Until I regained my bearings, life was a blur and all progress stopped.

When it comes to road trips, and to living with joy and fulfillment, an average compass is far more valuable than a superior speedometer. As long as we are moving forward on the right road it is seldom helpful to fret about the pace. I must admit that I have spoiled many a family trip over the years by obsessing over how quickly we were “getting there.” 

  • “No, we can’t stop and see that. If we do, we’ll never get there.”
  • “Yes, I’m sure that would be interesting, but it’s a bit out of the way.”
  • “I know you’re hungry, but we have just a couple of hours before we get to our hotel.”

At this stage of my life, I am trying to remember that worrying over velocity is a happiness-inhibitor. That’s because the joy is in the journey, not in “arriving” and absolutely NOT in arriving sooner

The truth is we never do arrive — at least not in this life. Happiness is in a direction, not a place. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. observed, “The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving.” 

Thus, while speed doesn’t matter, movement does. The essence of life is movement. Nehru said, “We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”

One of the keys to a successful life is getting clear about where we are and where we should be going. “Sharing a clear and concise vision spawns a sense of purpose and direction.” Farshad Asl. 

Thereafter, we need to check our compass periodically and, if necessary, adjust our path. From time to time, we need to take our bearings and confirm that the way we are going is taking us toward our vision and dreams. Otherwise, as Lao Tzu warned, “if you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”

As we journey through life, we will reach meaningful milestones from time to time. Reaching them and acknowledging them re-energizes us and helps us appreciate our progress. We should celebrate those moments, but we must resist the temptation to abandon the journey there, thinking we’ve reached the end of the road. The minute we throw away our compass and decide that life holds no further adventure for us, we are doomed by our own self-fulfilling prophecy. We condemn ourselves to a dull and lifeless existence. “If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It is lethal.” Paulo Coelho.

As for myself, I intend to enjoy the journey and relish the adventure. I aim to love my fellow travelers and help them along the way. I plan to consult my compass from time to time and move steadily in the direction of my dreams. I am determined to stay alive my entire life, hopefully preparing for the great adventure that lies beyond.

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