The shortest distance between two points is a straight line or so my high school geometry teacher convinced me. A to B shouldn’t run through C,D or R. As the crow flies will get you there in less time, if you could actually fly and if crows were plain geometry wizards. I do understand that the Pythagorean theorem shows that the diagonal is shorter than going round the block (so to speak). But what if shortest distance, fastest time, or least effort isn’t the metric we should be striving to meet? What if honouring curiosity, lifelong learning, answering wicked questions and exploring life were the expectation, would A to B still make sense?
Is this the same sentiment that leads us to confusion between urgent and important?
Do you respond to urgency with a goal of short circuiting the immediacy? When you get a call or a text from a customer, a client or a colleague with ” we need to talk, right now” as either the tacit or implied message,do you put everything else aside and connect with them? Even if what you are doing or working on is important to you and you are in an important flow state towards important goals? If you answered “yes. Of course” you may have an issue that will eventually consume you and your quest for creating meaning.
A healthier response and one that allows for the foundation of boundaries might be ” I appreciate your call, I am working on an important assignment at the moment. Can we schedule time in 3 hours (or tomorrow)? Is there something I can prepare for before we connect?” Creating a respectful boundary and acknowledging your respect for their needs/concerns should be enough of a response. If they get ‘huffy’ or excessively demanding, it may be time to reframe or disengage from the relationship. If you understand that shortest distance only measures expediency rather than innovation, creativity, productivity, and doesn’t allow for as yet unimagined possibilities to bubble up.
On the days that I take a moment to meander, I see differently and find new insights that inform the assignment differently. I get to test a different path and even when it doesn’t lead anywhere that I can justify, it isn’t a wasted effort.
It takes courage to be an adventurer, checking out trails and backwoods, but a single minded focus on black and white, linear highways regardless of how fast it gets you there or how many others are using the same path only creates more of what you already have.
If you have been the person at the other end of the conversation above – the instigator of urgency. Stop it. Be respectful. Honour boundaries. Explore less ‘efficient’ paths.
Make Today Remarkable, by meandering towards an adventure,