One morning I had an urgent Skype call and I didn’t want to miss out on my exercise routine, so I decided to take a shortcut. This is what happened.
6 days out of 7, I go for a morning bike ride, about 10 kms, very flat, nothing serious. I have lycraphobia and ride an old dunga mountain bike. It’s more for keeping fit and healthy, certainly not peloton level. The bonus is, it’s great thinking time.
This one morning, I knew I didn’t have the 45 minutes I usually take, so I decided to try to find a shorter route. And I managed to navigate my way around in about 20 minutes, got home and got on that call.
Trouble was, now I knew there was a shortcut!
Each time I went out on the ride after that, there was this temptation to “just do the short one today”. I knew it was there and could easily come up with some reason why I could justify taking it.
I started to get complacent. I started to “just do the short one” more often than not.
When I did do the entire route, I found my fitness level was dropping, it was harder to do.
So this morning I decided to put a stop to all that. I decided to do the route backwards.
Normally I start off in residential housing, around lots of canals, then round the back of the golf course and finish up with a very long back-road of nature reserve, which is often the most boring bit.
Today I started off with the long boring bit and what happened really surprised me.
This simple change, going in the opposite direction, got my brain active. I was seeing things from a different angle. It felt like I was in totally new territory.
There was no temptation of a shortcut, because this was the only road.
Trouble hit about half way round, when I discovered a hill that previously has been a down-slope. I even had to get off my bike and push it uphill for a short time. I immediately thought, maybe this isn’t the best way to go?
But then, after that small hiccup, it was back to golf course, interesting homes and canals, all observed from a new direction. It was a pleasant, easy going end to my ride. And of course, I completed the whole route. No shortcuts.
So what did I learn from this that might help me in my daily life and business?
Shortcuts might look easier or faster, but they don’t necessarily give you the greatest of results.
Changing things can be a great way to take a fresh look at the same thing from a different direction and discover new opportunities.
Change also has it’s bumps in the road, where things get tough, but once you are over the hard part, it pays off and the reward is a pleasant home run to the finish.
It reminds me of the story Brian Tracy tells us to “Eat the frog”.
If you take short-cuts, avoiding the “frog”, the pain will continue for longer, wearing you out and causing more harm in the long run.
If you “Eat the frog” and do the hard stuff first, be that making that call to a tricky client, working on a task you don’t want to do or working with someone that you struggle to resonate with, once you have taken action, doing that thing you’ve been putting off, everything else will be easy going.
What tasks are you putting off instead of getting done and out of the way today?
What shortcuts are you taking that are really just holding you back from success? What would you do backwards today to see if you can approach it from another angle?
Have fun today, take action, eat that frog, change things up and enjoy the ride.
Note: This article was written entirely in my head while on my bike ride this morning. Amazing what you can do while you are keeping fit and healthy, I thoroughly recommend it.