The Shortest Distance Between Two Points Is A Straight Line.

Written by Denise CornellBusiness

In business we shoot for that shortest distance — efficiency, peak performance, smarter not harder. And we like everything neatly packaged. No loose ends.

In life we know the best experiences are often off the beaten path. In business we aim for a well-oiled machine. Predictability.

In life we often long for more spontaneity, less routine.

I get it. Structure and predictability are good for the bottom line and they help you sleep at night. But we must recognize that over time routine breeds complacency. We become so comfortable in the safety of the routine we stop actively paying attention and easily fall into the trap of, it’s always been done this way. What if in our work we got off the main highway and took a few unscheduled stops along the way? What if we approached Monday — Friday more like Saturday and Sunday?

What if…

  • You relax the structure?
  • You let go of the tried and true?
  • You brainstorm a new project with the newest, least experienced person in your company?
  • You ignore the data and follow your intuition?
  • You travel the winding road without trying to straighten it out?
  • You start at the end and work backwards?
  • You try analogue instead of digital?
  • You extend the deadline?
  • You give yourself a crazy, unrealistic deadline? Like 6 weeks instead of 6 months?
  • You go for a walk or take the afternoon off instead of powering through?
  • You approach the problem like a fascinating riddle instead of aggressively attacking it like the enemy? You only consider one solution instead of investigating three?
  • You say yes to every request for one day?
  • You say no to every request for one day?
  • You take the novice’s approach? The novice doesn’t know the rules or expectations or what’s impossible.
  • You play the long game instead of shooting for the short term win?
  • You ask questions then listen to the answers without offering your own opinion?
  • You trust yourself enough to ____ (fill in the blank)?

Pick one. Are you adventurous enough to give it a try? Just once?

If you looked at that list and adamantly declared, No Way, you might want to ask yourself why. I’ll bet when you drill down to the root cause, it’s one of two things:

  1. You’re scared. Fear comes in all shapes, sizes and intensities and it’s a sneaky little bastard. What exactly are you afraid of? Failing? Looking silly? Succeeding (which might force you to question your comfortable assumptions)?
  2. You don’t care enough to be bothered.

I hope you’re scared. It’s easier to fix. There’s a lifetime’s worth of tricks, methods and philosophies at your fingertips. Just search, “How to Overcome My Fears” and pick your favorites. I personally subscribe to the School of Worse Case Scenarios. I go straight to the worse thing I can imagine happening. Then I ask myself two questions. What’s the actual likelihood of this happening? What emergency plan do I have in place to keep me from the worse case?

If your answer is you just don’t care enough…welp. First, if you think you might be depressed, please seek professional help. If we’re dealing with a bad attitude or boredom I’ll remind you — you have a choice. Maybe you don’t have the luxury of changing your work, but you absolutely have the choice of how you approach it. You’re making the choice not to care. Make better choices.

For good measure I’ll ask once again, are you adventurous enough to give it a try? Just once? If you’re a yes, please let me know what you try and how it goes.

Written by
Denise Cornell
Denise Cornell is a tech marketing veteran turned marketing consultant based out of Austin, Texas. She helps entrepreneurs to get cozy with their customers. But beyond this, she writes. She writes in service to the examined life, answering the creative call and her personal philosophy of Truth Over Strategy (which is also how she runs her business).

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