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