Detours have been a major influence in my life.
By detours, I mean a departure from my intended path. Sometimes the detour has become the new path, a new journey. At other times it has been a temporary trip along a side road before re-joining the planned path, finding a new one or reaching a new destination.
I took some of those detours voluntarily. Others were the result of circumstances beyond my control, others still the consequences of choices I made, some good, some not so good, a few catastrophic.
Why this reflection on Detours, Destinations, Journeys and Goals?
Firstly from my habit for many years of looking back over the past year in preparation for the annual “archiving” exercise I do in the quiet week between Christmas and New Year. I wrote about it here and here . Looking back, I notice how many detours my 67 year journey through life has taken.
Secondly, the more I read about or hear of, other people’s life stories, the more I realise that detours are not the exception we assume, often they are more travelled than the planned route.
Thirdly, the accelerating rush to introduce technology into all areas of life. This means that for young people just starting out on their journeys, there will be more detours than clearly signposted highways.
The impact of Artificial Intelligence, automation, robots. This is dramatically changing the way those entering the income earning stage of life sustain themselves. For many it means detouring from college back to the family home. In other cases, a succession of jobs in different categories, many unrelated to their field of study. For many a reliance on the “gig” economy, finding a balance between too few and too many part-time assignments.
Journeys and Goals
For as long as I have studied personal development, goal setting has been the most frequently mentioned habit of successful people. Goals are important. However the more I look at what makes us happy, the more I believe that enjoying the journey is as important as arriving at the right destination. Or achieving the goal. Probably more so.
If we decide to travel to a distant destination by train with the goal of arriving at an exact time on a certain day, any delay in the journey will stop us achieving our goal. However, if we choose to enjoy the scenery, share ideas with our fellow travellers, or use some quiet time to relax, we will find that we can more easily accept delays or unplanned deviations from our schedule. Perhaps a delayed arrival at our destination. Even having to end our train journey prematurely and continue by another mode of transport.
Life is much like that. And becoming increasingly so.
We can enjoy the journey with all its detours, frustrations, deviations and changing destinations and be happy.
Or we can live to regret not achieving our goals and be miserable.
I have had my share of detours and deviations, I choose to enjoy the journey.
I sincerely hope you do too.