If you are anything like me, when you are in your predictable daily routine, you often already have a very good idea about what is going to happen next. It’s like we are following a script and know the next line and even the next scene.
So to create changes in our daily story requires changing our script. The interesting aspect of altering our script is that because we are embarking on new territory, we are often suddenly much less sure of the answer to the question, “What happens next?” We can either view not knowing the answer to this question as unsettling and disturbing, or we can choose to view this uncertainty as an opportunity for adventure.
Enter in an experience I had last Saturday. I drove in search of Lake Murray. I traveled down Lake Murray Boulevard to find the lake, which seemed like a good bet. I drove on and on for miles without seeing the lake, until a sign said, “Road Ends in 500 Feet.” At this point, I thought maybe Lake Murray was at the end of the road.
So I parked and found no lake, but a sign marking a path. I thought, “I like hiking trails.” and started down the path. What I discovered was no Lake Murray, but another path, which started to wind up a steep hill. Then saw a hiker walking towards me and asked him where the trail led. He said, “Up Cowles Mountain.”
I had never been on the north face of Cowles Mountain before and there was plenty of daylight, so I kept walking. It took about an hour to reach the summit of Cowles Mountain. (Remember, I said I was searching for Lake Murray). And an hour to descend down the south side of Cowles Mountain.
The good news is I saw Lake Murray from the summit of the Cowles Mountain and figured out that in fact it was west of Lake Murray Boulevard. (Does anyone else have walks like this or is it just me?) Once I reached the base of the mountain, I still had to traverse quite a bit of territory to get to Lake Murray, which ended up being nice, I think. (I couldn’t see it clearly for it was dark by the time I reached the lake I started out in broad daylight to find.)
Now the question is, “Did I need to spend four hours traversing a substantial mountain to find Lake Murray?”
Heck no! Once I hit the dead-end, I could have turned my car around and asked directions at a gas station and been to Lake Murray within 15 minutes. I could have found the answer to my uncertainty in short order. (And I would have had a wonderful walk around Lake Murray IN THE DAYLIGHT.)
I decided on a substantially different course, by opting to let my uncertainty lead me out of a predictable script of finding a destination as quickly as possible. In the process, I was gifted with the surprise of randomly climbing over a mountain, which is definitely outside of my daily routine.
Sometimes our greatest opportunities for expansion come from intentionally putting aside the routine answers we know by heart in favor of exploring and discovering fresh and challenging experiences. Sometimes climbing an unexpected mountain is just the answer we need to expand and grow.
Game of the Day
Think about a time in your life when you intentionally did not rely on the answers you already knew, but explored until you found new answers. What did that experience feel like? What did you learn from that experience?
Where in your life can you have fun exploring, instead of relying on the answers that are already predictable to you?
Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker. He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska. He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset. For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.