I love shortcuts. I compare the feeling of finding a shortcut to that of finding a terrific bargain. It’s true. For example, when I find a way to shave eleven minutes off of the travel time to see my sister, by taking a back road that is a little more direct, I feel a physical rush of adrenaline similar to finding a blouse, in my size, by my favorite designer, marked down from $75 to $30 with an extra 20% taken off at the register!! What a find?!?! Come on, you just got a rush when you read about that blouse too, didn’t you?
I know I am not alone in loving to save money. I love saving money because it leaves me with a little more of that resource to put towards something else; something that I want more, need more, or value more.
But when it comes to saving time by using shortcuts, I’ve noticed something else. I’ve noticed that while I am busy looking for ways to shave off some of the time it takes me to do whatever I am doing, I often have absolutely no idea what I will do with the time saved by taking my beloved shortcut. In the example I used above, I knew that the time saved travelling to my sister’s house would mean additional time to spend with her, which is something I value greatly, but most of the time I am looking for shortcuts simply because I am interested in being finished with whatever I am doing. I want to be finished as quickly as possible so that I can move on to the next thing on my list of things to do…things that I will also be trying to do as quickly as possible. Can you relate?
I have also noticed something else. When I am more concerned with finding shortcuts in order to be finished with the task at hand a little sooner, I miss out on much of the pleasure of doing whatever I am doing. And when I am finished I do not enjoy the satisfaction of having completed the task because my preoccupation with being finished and taking shortcuts resulted in me giving less than my best effort. Can you relate?
I have heard the expression, “the devil is in the details,” all of my life and I have always translated that to mean that anything worth doing in the first place is worth doing as well as I can do it. Turns out, I really, really believe that. In my adult life, I have also heard the expression, “how you do anything is how you do everything” and I have translated that to mean that how I handle the tiniest, seemingly most inconsequential details of my life, is how I handle the most important details of my life. Turns out, I really, really believe that too.
So why then would I ever let my love of finding shortcuts drive me to hurry through anything I am doing just so I can declare “I am finished?” If I cannot save time without compromising the quality of my effort and uphold my own standards, why then would a shortcut even be an option? I cannot think of a good answer.
Shortcuts may have their place, and I will continue to look for them on the roadways as I travel to see my family and loved ones because there is nothing I value more than spending time with them. There is no downside as I see it to these kinds of shortcuts. But when it comes to everything else, I am going to be looking for the devil at every turn and if a shortcut means a detail is overlooked, even the tiniest, seemingly most inconsequential detail, I am going to decide to take my time, give it the best I have and soak up every possible aspect of the experience of what I am doing.
We are creating our lives…one decision at a time.
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