If You Want To Go To Florida From Chicago, Don’t Drive North

Or,   Heading In The Correct Direction Gets You There More Quickly

I’ve had too many conversations in which I listen to a person describe heartfelt plans, desires or goals and then proceed to act in ways that contradict everything that was just said. It makes me hope someone invents a GPS system for the mind.  For example, (I’m making this up. I don’t talk about real people except my firends, kids and myself) a 30 something year old woman, new to Chicago, just out of a relationship, tells me that this is her time to grow up a bit, be independent, and prove she can make it on her own.  Then, she spends weeks and weeks working on her online dating profile, drinking too much in bars, and neglecting her new job. 

 I understand fear and habitual patterns, and I appreciate the need for security.  But I also know that if you want to get to Florida from Chicago, it works better if you drive south. 

 Here’s another one…An imaginary undergraduate goes on and on about his love for languages.  He speaks two, was teaching himself another and was taking several language related courses in both literature and neurology.  I enjoy this sort of thing since my French teacher in high school hated me and threw me out of class, not without reason.  When the undergrad later announces that he plans to become an engineer, it makes anyone pause and  remind themselves that they had not imagined the past discussions.

If you know what you want, why not go there directly?  I understand that browsing in the shoe department is fun on my way to sportswear, but these stories don’t feel like browsing – they  feel off course. I don’t have an answer to this; just a couple of hypotheses. Maybe people don’t listen to themselves;  maybe they are living their lives according to someone else’s wishes;  maybe they lack confidence;  maybe they are stuck in old habits;  maybe they are fearful of going after a dream or; maybe they fear failure.  Maybe, maybe, maybe; it is a lot of maybes,  but I am certain that it takes longer to get to Florida from Chicago if you drive north.

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