A family friend Henry was driving us around a small estate in Victoria of Australia when he recounted the story of his niece, Beth, who drove him around when she first got her driver’s license.
Upon reaching a little roundabout, usually planted right in the junctions, Beth asked if she should continue to drive in the same direction. Her other choices included driving clockwise around the round-about, She could turn towards the left at the first exit, towards the right at the third exit.
Henry said, “Yea, straight ahead, Beth!”
Beth stepped on the accelerator.
She immediately sent a couple of turbulent bounces to the car suspensions as she traversed across the little island in the middle of the junction.
Of course, we later understood what Henry meant. He intended for Beth to drive clockwise around the roundabout, and into the second exit.
Though hilarious the incidence may be, there is a little lesson from what Beth did. Yes, Beth broke some traffic laws and there were some surprises and discomfort, but she was focused and charged ahead.
She did what she needed to do because her destination was straight ahead. Beth set her course and simply couldn’t be bothered with any obstacle along the way.
Beth’s driving incidence provided an analogy of the posture we should take as we pursue our goals in life.
Spot the roundabout
We are often too concerned with the state of our starting point when we need to move forward.
I adopt a different approach in my life.
I would set a goal and then work backward to determine what need to be done to reach the goal in the stipulated time. Let’s say my goal is to finish reading a 200-page book in 5 days. Working backward, I would need to read 40 pages in a day; and assuming I have only 2 hours each day allocated, I would have to make sure I read at a speed of 20 pages every hour. My speed of reading should not be dependent on whether I have mood to do so or whether I am already reading at this speed. I would just have to do what is necessary to met my goal.
Somehow, many of us do not move our lives this way. We allow the roundabout, a.k.a. our current state of being, slows down our progress.
Let’s start with our annual resolution to get fit. Whether we could get our sore bodies to the gym the next morning, or if weather is great for exercising should not get in the way of our success.
Look ahead and charge
I was amused at one of the planning meetings from a previous workplace. Instead of setting the goal for progress, the team leader decided to focus on existing constraints and obstacles. She allowed the “roundabout” to determine her rate and scale of success.
This principle works on cycling as well. In order to move ahead, one needs to look ahead and just paddle on in confidence. One would wobble and fall when one look down on the road to watch every stone along the path.
If you have set your destination, then everything else is just a matter of fact, it just needed to be done.
Be like Beth, ignore the roundabout and just drive on. That’s how I push myself forward.
How do you pursue your goal? Do you focus on your destinations or the constraints?