Every Destination Has Multiple Routes


Some paths are shorter. Others are more scenic. Some are adventurous and risky. It may be kind. Or it can be deftly efficient and straight-to-the-point.

“Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.”

- Michelle Obama (from Becoming)

Every destination (assuming you know where you would like to go) likely has multiple paths you could to get there. Basically not unlike “Choose Your Own Adventure”.

Some paths are shorter. Others are more scenic. Some are adventurous and risky. It may be kind. Or it can be deftly efficient and straight-to-the-point. On some paths, you’ll encounter and connect with others (some whom may become your new best friends). Some paths have heartache and unexpected, unplanned detours and mistakes (detours and mistakes are often the best teachers).

Choosing your own path is not even as much or as simple as weighing up the pros and cons. It’s almost as if the path you take doesn’t really matter that much, assuming your goal is primarily to reach the final destination.

What is likely much truer is that you figure out what else on your journey will matter to you. Let’s face it - the journey to your final destination will be filled by all of those other things that doesn’t directly relate the journey itself. If you can’t find contentment, joy and perseverance in those things, then the path you pick will not matter.

Another time to consider this is when you ask others for advice about which path to take. Asking “How do I get there?” will merely get you a best-practice answer of how the answerer would’ve gone about their own journey. A better question could be “What’s the shortest way to there?” or “Which way can I take to meet many new people?”. These questions should at least yield specific answers, which are aligned with the thing for you  are trying to optimise.

"You can have all the desire and ache inside you want, but what you really need is a concrete starting point."

- Haruki Murakami (Killing Commendatore)

Ultimately anybody or anything can help you pick a path. Only you’ll know whether that is a good option for you.

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I have often picked the goal first, before agreeing to the journey.⠀ ⠀ The goal is what sells us. Once hooked, it draws us in. Infatuated by the benefits and status that comes from pursuing and achieving said goal.⠀ ⠀ The part that I have often skimmed over is to also consider the journey that is inevitably required to pursue the goal. It has often been the journey and not the goal that has tripped me up. And it's been especially true when I've looked at others for inspiration; where their pursuit of their goals looked so romantic / awesome from the outside. Yet I had no context as to the less-than-ideal things that were challenging them as well on their journey.⠀ ⠀ Today this is a habit for me and it takes a conscious effort to re-work and re-wire the way I pursue set and pursue goals. I still get tempted by the sweet allure that is new inspiration and new goals. I am however more purposeful in evaluating whether the possible journey - and at the very least - the first couple of steps actually resonates with me. If I can't see myself taking the first couple of steps and then enduring until the end, I will often not take something new on.

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An extract from "Motion".