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Leadership Thought #226 – Sometimes You Need to Recalculate

October 7, 2011

Free African American male with backpack standing in forest and holding mobile phone while catching GPS signal during hike Stock Photo

Be open to the need to recalculate even when you think your path is clear.

I get into small arguments with my GPS system all the time.  It tells me to go one way and I go another.  Occasionally, it’s because I know the better route, but often I just want to go a different way or have changed my plans due to traffic.  After reminding me a few times that I’m not listening to the preferred route, it eventually must recalculate the directions to suit my decision.  I’ve had quite a few wonderful experiences in life by wandering off the beaten path or going against conventional wisdom.  Sometimes in life you just need to recalculate based on circumstances or choice.

I doubt many of us ended up in the exact place we thought we’d land as clear eyed confident high school or college graduates many years ago.   We were so sure of ourselves back then about who we would become and what we’d accomplish.  The path ahead was straightforward and many of the major steps were already identified, then LIFE HAPPENED.  All paths are crooked and bumpy at times.  Just like the sea, smooth sailing won’t last forever.  Your character will inevitably build over time (or not) as you navigate the rough waters and unforeseen obstacles.  You will also uncover beautiful passageways that you were unaware existed and have moments of spontaneous joy and self-assurance that will linger for a lifetime.

I’ve come to a point in my life where I fully appreciate that plans, while important, are simply general directions that offer guidance but not complete solutions.  The key is to be flexible and adapt to your ever-changing circumstances.   You will need to recalculate many times in your life and sometimes there will be multiple occurrences each year.   No matter how well you think you have things figured out, life will throw you a curve ball that may be hard to hit.  During these moments you can either seize the opportunities for growth and/or reinvention or miss them.

The final objectives for all of us should be love, friendship, compassion, joy, personal growth, and self-fulfillment.  We should feel like we played the best hand we could, given the cards we were dealt.  Our own small corner of the universe should be better off because of our existence and effort.  Instead of succumbing to the vagaries and disappointments of life we should embrace the challenges and end up being better off because of it.