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Is a Straight Line Truly the Shortest Distance Between Point A and Point B?

April 12, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 126

Sometimes we get confused when we don't meet our goals as planned. Does that mean our goals are wrong, or our plans are wrong? Maybe neither. Maybe we're just asking the wrong questions and drawing the wrong conclusions. Dreams, be they nighttime dreams, daydreams, or life dreams, are seldom linear.

I recently read a blog entry in which the author was wondering why, in the area of goals, people don't figure out the shortest distance between Point A and Point B, and just do it. Utilizing the left-brain logic which we were all taught in grade school, he argued that the shortest distance is obviously a straight line.

And he's right. Up to a point. It can be very effective to take that straight line to our goals. So why don't more people do it? That question gave me pause because it's one that strikes close to home for me. Why indeed?

Being trained in clinical research, I began to wonder if he's asking the right question. The conclusions you derive will depend on the data you collect. And the data will depend on the questions you ask. So allow me to add some new questions to this topic in the hopes of opening up new, possibly more accurate conclusions.

Perhaps instead of asking what is the shortest distance between Point A and Point B, we should ask what is the most effective, or efficient, or easiest, or most fulfilling way to reach the goal? Which route will provide the most benefit in the long run? What path will allow for the greatest joy and satisfaction on a daily basis (living in the present) rather than just getting us to the goal (living in the future)?

And there might be a second angle from which to approach this topic. For example, who says the shortest distance is a straight line? As one woman put it, the shortest distance between Point A and Point B is not a straight line, it's a soft curl.

Finally, who is doing the traveling between the two points? For instance, we all know the expression "as the crow flies," which describes that old straight line. Someone will say, "It's a mile as the crow flies," but it might be two miles for you to drive there, or it might be a mile and a quarter for a dog to trot there.

Think about it. When has your life ever been a straight line? Don't you have curves and bends, hills and valleys, road blocks and detours? Maybe your goal is to get to the top of the mountain, but in order to do that, you have to step down, move over, and try a different path because the most direct route can be taken only by a mountain goat, if it were goal-oriented enough to be concerned about such things.

In short, then, when you've set a goal and are trying to figure out the best way to reach it, go ahead and listen to the advice of others. At the same time, be curious enough to wonder if they're asking the right questions and making the right assumptions for your particular situation. Be open to the ideas and insights that come to you as you pursue your goals and live your dreams. Maybe that unexpected detour has an amazing little surprise in store for you!

Loral Lee Portenier, MS, LCPC, Certified Hypnotherapist, Expressive Arts Therapist, Transpersonal Life Coach, is currently working on her doctorate in psychology. She specializes in helping people live their dreams and make their lives a great place to be. Find resources and follow her blog at

Source: EzineArticles
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