A Jungle Gym Not A Ladder
Let’s talk about achieving your goals and making your dreams come true. A worthy topic right?
A lot of us have heard the idea of the ladder to the top, which suggests that there’s a single path we can stay on to get where we want to go. While I am a huge advocate for crafting a plan and being disciplined to it (cutting out distractions and being clear on what’s required of you), I’ve found that getting to the top is a lot more like a jungle gym than a ladder.
It’s not as simple as climbing one rung at a time. It’s getting to the top of the ladder to find a dead end, jumping across to a net, climbing down and swinging over to rock wall, scaling it halfway and jabbing your foot into a small crack to grab a rope… you get the picture.
Reaching your goals requires that you’re flexible, nimble, and resourceful. Sometimes you need to be really creative to maximize an opportunity, take steps backwards to go forward faster, and change plans when your route doesn’t look as promising.
Kind of like a puzzle, some jungle gyms are more complex, and some are straightforward. But in both cases, in order to succeed you must constantly evaluate and reevaluate your plan to innovate, optimize, and improve. That’s the art of the whole process - you need to give your well-thought out plan a fair chance to work but also know when it’s time to pivot.
I’ve found two things that are really helpful with this challenge. First, create opportunities for reflection. When you take a step back and look at the system rather than make decisions from within it, things became way clearer and you’re less emotionally attached to it. This helps you make better decisions. Second is, to surround yourself with other people who can add more perspective to you understanding. Again you might be too close to see the full picture.
Life is anything but predictable, and the path to you dreams is anything but linear. You might some wrong turns and get stuck in some tough spots, but as long as you’re committed to the process you’ll find your way.
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