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Longcuts beat shortcuts (how you get to where you are headed)

A quick story

A few years ago I met a retired British Army officer who had (almost) climbed Mount Everest. The tale he told was full of drama (a rescue of two captains 300m from the summit' whose oxygen had run out), fast closing weather and frostbite (missing fingers and toes were part of the aftermath).

But the most significant takeaway for me was his observation that the biggest predictor of success for an expedition is in the hike to Everest Base Camp. The two week trek he described (including scaling an ice cliff) was where the whole team found out who talked a good game and who could match words to deeds. Who was a whiner or complainer, who couldn't ask for help, who asked for help too much, who wanted to go it alone and who brought the team together. A real sorting he said, "of the adults from the children". Or he continued, you could fly straight into base camp. And those expeditions had more problems.

His story has stuck with me because in world of quick fix headlines like: "Best Morning Routine: 21 Steps for a More Productive Day" or "13 tips to make working from home easier" and "10 Mindset Hacks That Will Change Your Life" - we miss the important step of going through the process of experimentation, assessing our results, reflecting on them and settling on our own practices. Embodying our own "trek" as opposed to arriving quickly at the destination.

So next time you are struggling with something, remember, it is in that struggle that the biggest lessons and insights are waiting. How you get to your destination, not just getting there (wherever there is) counts!

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