The Siren Song of the Shortcut

 

Today I had to get to the car dealers. A major street was blocked off for repairs, so I took the main alternative route, which, as it turned out, many others also took. It is a truism in Toronto that traffic is a horror story at the best of times. When there are special issues like this one, it’s an over-the-top hair-pulling story.

So, like so many before me in the huge lineup, I thought I’d take a shortcut, only to discover that every side street eventually led back to the street I was on. By the time I did find a 3rd alternative, I was more than 30 minutes late.

Here’s another shortcut story you may have tried: fasting. You tell everyone it’s a cleanse, but secretly it’s a way to lose some unwanted pounds. The problem (other than the lie)? It doesn’t work! In fact, mostly, anyone who tries fasting to lose weight actually gains weight!

The idea of a shortcut seems so appealing and alluring, like the sirens singing to the sailors in Odysseus. Almost always, the shortcut leads to delays and disappointment.

The reason a shortcut seldom works is because it isn’t the norm. If it were the norm it wouldn’t be a shortcut. Therefore, it’s unfamiliar; and therefore, it’s harder to see the potholes and roadblocks – like all those streets that led nowhere new today for me, or the fact that my starving body went into starvation mode and needed fewer calories to survive (storing the rest as fat).

Next time you’re tempted by the idea of taking a shortcut, try remembering the last time you took one. That memory may help you save time and grief.

Why we make bad decisions (like choosing a shortcut)

 

Quote of the Week 

Short cuts make long delays.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

 

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Need more? At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co .

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co.

 

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