In order to reach a big goal, we have to take concrete steps that take us directly towards it.
Milk comes from cows (usually). Honey comes from bees. Those are obvious statements that any four year old could impart to us with unflinching certainty. With that definiteness, I know that (even though I’ve never kept bees) I can be certain that if I want honey I’ll need their help in getting it. I won’t try to milk a bee and I won’t try to find that mythical cow hive to get my honey fix. For honey, I’ll make a bee line (forgive the pun) for the bee hive and harvest what I want. It’s simple. Yet, every day people make the mistake of trying to pull honey from a cow when pursuing a goal.
Let’s say your goal is to write a book. The straight line approach suggests that you write. Write a little bit every day until you reach that honey pot. The individual mistakenly heading towards the dairy in search of their pot of honey might spend all of their time researching the book. Sure, some research might be necessary but this person thinks they need to know everything about their book topic and gets so mired in research and study that they fail to write a single word. If they’re goal was to know everything about the topic then heading towards the dairy was the right choice. But, since they’re trying to write a book, they’re likely headed in the wrong direction.
The key is to take concrete action towards your goal. Initially, the milk and honey might be on the same path but when that road forks you’ve got to be sure you’re headed towards the honey. Some time ago, my wife and I began a fitness routine with the goal of dropping our body fat percentages and overall weight. We dove head first into the workout routines, pushing ourselves hard. We noticed some improvement, but not at all what we expected.
After some fruitless effort we realized that we’d gone off the rails in one important area: we’d failed to change our diets. Like doing a bit of research for a book, working out seemed very good and productive. But it wasn’t going to get us to our goal. Instead of completely orienting ourselves towards that goal we went only halfway. As a result, we failed to realize what we’d set out to do until we changed direction. We corrected our diets and saw much bigger results.
What are your goals and what do you need to do to reach them? What are concrete steps you can take to get there? Consider the straightest line to get from where you are now to where your goal is and do your best to stay on that route. Remember, if you want honey you’ve got to go where the bees are. There’s no such thing as a cow hive.