Preparing For The Journey

Is there an ultimate success?  Is goal seeking ever finished?  If not, there is another way to look at planning and decision making.

Planning is process not event.  It is never finished.  Experience and learning from that  makes for better, quicker, easier decisions but it never ends.  From what I have seen, no karate black belt thinks they are finished.  As one says, “The black belt is a symbol that you have packed for the journey.”

Life is like that.  Prepared is good, but prepared is not the journey.

What gets in our way on the journey?

  • The idea of a right way is a problem.  Especially when the right way is imposed.  If it is not your right way, it is the wrong way.  Be sure though that your right way is fully considered.  Denying another’s experience can be costly.
  • Fear of error is a problem.  I have played chess with my grandson recently.  The winner tends to be the one who makes the second-last mistake.  Few mistakes are either a surprise or terminal.
  • Seeking perfection with the next step is a problem.  Because you are not ready yet is an excuse to do nothing.  You must make mistakes to learn to play golf or become a karate black belt.  Waiting for the right time or until you know more is a mistake.
  • Abdicating responsibility for decisions that matter to you can hurt.  If the outcome matters you must learn enough to participate in the decision.  Learn enough to get the gist of it.  Be wary of professionals who provide the answer and demand you follow.
  • Misinterpreting the meaning of knowledge hurts.  If a golfer knows that the odds of being struck by lightening are 1 in 6,000,000 for the general population, their personal odds become about 1 in 6 if they are on the golf course and a storm comes up. All knowledge is contextual.  Notice the context when relying on the knowledge.
  • Ignoring the availability of guides is weak. People with “local knowledge” can save a lot of time and trouble.  Seek them out.
  • Every person in the world knows at least one thing you do not. Some of them know things that are crucial to your journey.  Listen and learn.
  • It is not all about you.  Sharing and mentoring add value to everyone involved.

All journeys are exciting, refreshing and educational.  Treat the most important journey with the respect it deserves. Packing is just step one.

Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is now with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario.


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