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July 11, 2019

Take an Extra Moment to Understand

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One day, I started driving through downtown San Diego.  I impressed myself when I got on the road and didn’t even consider pulling up Google Maps, because I was the confident in how to get there. When I arrived without issue, I reflected on how I had learned the directions that quickly, and I had a big realization.  

The last time I made that same drive, I took an extra moment once I arrived to trace my steps. I sought to understand the route, and orient myself with the streets I took, instead of just relying on the technology and move on with my day. That extra moment helped me encode the process and now I have a much better mental model of the freeways and streets I drive every day.

So, take an extra moment to understand. Sure, my example was about understanding directions and geography, but the same can apply to many other things like new methods at work, conversations, or something you read.

The thought behind it is that investing your time and energy in the present moment will help you save time in the future, as well as improve the quality of the skill in question. Taking 2 minutes to process things, once, is much better than taking 30 seconds to reconcile a situation, 10 times.

So, be extra cognizant of the things you are doing today, and seek to understand the specific details behind it so that you are more prepared for the next time!

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