A few years ago my wife and I took a trip to Costa Rica. Upon arrival we rented a car and headed out to our first destination which was a few hours away. I had a map so I figured I’d be in great shape. About 20 minutes into the drive I found myself practically lost in the tangle of unmarked streets and dirt roads. Frustrated, I turned to Siri for help. If you’ve ever been the passenger on a road trip with a man, you know how hard it is for us to ask for help.
I typed the address to our destination in my phone and instantly Siri had discovered the ideal route to get there. We were on our way.
The only problem was, things didn’t always go the way I thought they would. With the streets not being well marked, I would sometimes miss a turn and head in the wrong direction. Luckily, Siri never got mad or frustrated with me (she left that to my wife). Any time I missed a turn Siri would simply chime in and say, “Recalculating route. Changing route.” And within a few seconds, Siri would have a new route planned to get us to our destination.
Sometimes the new route meant I had to backtrack to the right turn, sometimes she found a different route that took into account my new location. Eventually we made it to our hotel safely and saw some beautiful scenery along the way. I have never been so thankful for Siri as I was that day, in the middle of a foreign country, trying not to get lost.
This morning I was thinking back to that experience, and how much it relates to what we are trying to accomplish in life.
Life is a lot like a foreign country. We don’t know what is coming tomorrow or even around the next corner. Every step we take is new territory, a brand new world. Most of us have an idea of where we want to go. We have a destination. We’ve drawn maps and made plans about how to get there and we feel like everything should go pretty smoothly.
And then we miss a turn.
Something doesn’t go right. Our great plan falls apart around us. We are presented with a choice:
We can either stop and abandon our plans because it seems too hard or we can “recalculate route.”
Most people make the mistake of thinking that success and happiness come from someone setting a goal and then marching straight towards it. The truth is that there is no straight path to success. There isn’t even one path. There are many paths that can get you to your goals. You just have to be willing to recalculate your route when you miss a turn or have an obstacle get in your way.
So when it seems like you are getting off course, missed a turn, or just don’t know which way to go, just stop and take a deep breath and recalculate your route. Sometimes you may need to go backwards and take a different turn. That’s okay. It isn’t a race. Sometimes you can look at where you are and find a completely new path to get you to your destination. Either way, the only thing you can’t afford to do is stop and give up. You can’t waste time crying about the turn you should have taken 3 years ago. You can’t spend all your time focusing on how lost you are at the moment. Where you are isn’t as important as where you are going. Just focus on your final destination and start recalculating. Just as Siri reminded me, it is okay to ask for help from people who may have traveled the path already.
May your journey be full of fun, adventure, happiness, and plenty of route changes.
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