There are times in both personal and professional situations where apparent road blocks get in the way of achieving your desired goals. Earlier in my life, these road blocks discouraged me. Now, I just see them as detours, and I have learned to learn from the detours. I learned to use them to get where I want to go.
In the picture above, the desired goal is somewhere on 9th Street. At the moment, the normal or shortest path down 9th Street is closed. That does not mean that we should change our destination because the original road we wanted to travel was closed. We just take the detour, enjoy the scenery, and move on towards our goal.
Similar situations strike us as we move through life. It could be a college choice – which college to attend and what to study. It could be a career choice – what to do, where to do it, etc. It could be a business direction decision – what product to launch ( or cancel), how to offer a service, or what market to enter ( or leave). These situations hit us over and over again as we go through our lives.
Here’s what I’ve learned at this point in my life: stay focused on the end goal and take the detour.
The detour might take longer to follow than your originally intended path. The detour might make you do some things you had not planned to do and may not enjoy doing.
The detour might also show you some things you would not have otherwise seen. The detour might give you a chance to learn some skills or insights into yourself that you would not have learned on your original path. The detour might actually be a little bit of fun to follow.
I’m not suggesting that you should look for detours. I’m not even saying that I’m always good at accepting detours with a positive attitude. I am saying that re-framing the detour as a learning experience or as an adventure rather than a road block can make it valuable.
Some of my greatest lessons in life have come from detours. So far, I have always found a way to use the lessons I learned on the detour to help me move closer to where I really want to be.