Getting To/Away From A/B
Posted by danspira
“A few turnings later and I was thoroughly lost. There is a school of thought which says that you should consult a map on these occasions, but to such people I merely say, ‘Ha! What if you have no map to consult? What if you have a map but it’s of the Dordogne?’ My own strategy is to find a car, or the nearest equivalent, which looks as if it knows where it is going and follow it. I rarely end up where I was intending to go, but often I end up somewhere that I needed to be.”
– Dirk Gently in The Long Dark Teatime Of The Soul, by Douglas Adams
For any (metaphorical) journey, where point A is the starting point; and where point B is the intended destination:
Assuming there is less than 100% certainty that the journey will go as intended, there is some variability on the location of point B and the shape of the route between A and B.
Most people agree that there is rarely 100% certainty, especially for journeys of great significance, such as large projects, designs, careers, human relationships, life. There is, however, a good amount of dispute regarding everything else in this “Getting from Point A to Point B” model, such as:
– How much variability should be allowed for the location of point B?
– What are the priorities and criteria that may cause us to alter point B’s location?
– How much variability should be allowed for the shape and length of the route?
– What are the priorities and criteria that may cause us to change direction?
– Is it about having a point B, or is it really just about the journey?
– Is there even such a thing as point A, or are we perpetually en route?
Too many questions. Just get moving, because the landscape is shifting.
Two challenging scenarios:
The person who is stuck at point B: Perhaps they made a bee-line from A to B. Perhaps they moved quickly and with singular purpose. Now they don’t know where to go next. The longer they stay in point B, the harder it becomes for them to muster the courage to get up and start a new journey.
The person who is stuck at point A: Perhaps they lack the confidence to deal with the incredible uncertainty that the journey represents. Perhaps they have exacting criteria on the shape of the route and nature of the destination. As with the previous scenario, the longer they stay in place, the more difficult becomes to muster the courage to move forward.
If you’re in either of those scenarios, the key is to take that first, imperfect, step forward — or even backward. The direction is less important than the simple goal of moving away from the place where you’re stuck. You’ve been there too long. Take a step outside, please. Step away from the vehicle, sir. Call it the first step or call it a detour, it doesn’t matter. Because once you’re standing in a different place, you will have a new perspective. You may need that, to move on.