If I asked you to give me two numbers that when added together it would equal 9, what would your answer be?
Likely 4+5, right?
While accurate, there are many ways for us to get to 9. It could also be 8+1, 7+2, or 6+3. You could reverse it too and go with 3+6, 2+7, 8+1, or 5+4. The point that I’m trying to make is that there are always several alternative pathways to get to the end point we desire – in this case the number 9. We as humans tend to become limited in our thinking and operate in a one track mind, running with blinders on. When the truth is there are several options available to us. It happens quite often when we put all of our energy into something only to hit a brick wall and think that’s it, we’re done. Problem solving requires rational thought and analysis which means full activation of our neocortex – the thinking part of our brain. This allows us to assemble our Plan A but run our options all the way to Plan Z; alternatives that are available even if we have no intention of ever using.
The famous quote from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to” said the cat.
But before you can decide on the direction to go, you need to lay out a series of pathways to get there. Here are some tips in setting up this process:
1) Define your end goal. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: you have to define success. Put pen to paper. Writing it down in this manner is what makes it real and allows you to create an end point as defined by no one other than yourself.
2) Keep a Plan B in mind. The path to success is NEVER a straight line. Sometimes life will throw a curveball at you and you will have to take an alternative route. Don’t let this deter you. While staying laser focused on your primary mission, keep an alternative in mind as a backup just in case.
3) Hold yourself accountable. Don’t expect anyone to keep you on track other then yourself. Certain things such as setting deadlines and using SMART goals is a helpful way to keep on pace. And when you notice you’re falling behind, find a way to keep the pressure on.
4) Keep learning. While focus is key, continue to pay attention to your surroundings. Continue to learn by reading, self-educating, personal development and talking to others. Sometimes we will get so caught up in our own thoughts that we miss out on other opportunities that might be right in front of us.
5) Celebrate. Don’t forget to celebrate the small wins. Any milestone hit, small achievements made, whatever it may be – celebrate the success. After all we are here to enjoy life and we never want to lose sight of that.