Daily Stretch #18: take the wiser road, not the shortcut

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill

We all want to succeed. But very few take the wiser road.

The gap between happiness and success is widening. Especially in the US.

The amount of Google searches of “success” has been growing at a faster pace than “happiness” in the past four years.

Our appetite for success recipes is reaching a new record. Google “how to succeed” and you’ll get over 86 Million results.

If you are reading this, you too are hungry for lessons and stories that can help you succeed.

But if you are looking for a listicle with seven ways to succeed in life, sorry to disappoint you. There’s no quick route to success.

That’s the problem with shortcuts. Trying to achieve your dreams or goals fast, never works.

Shortcuts will get you nowhere. Rather than moving fast, you’ll get stuck.

Shortcuts are an illusion

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” — Helen Keller

Your desire for shortcuts makes you an easy prey.

Miracle workers will promise you quick solutions. The only quick-win will be theirs.

The road to success is full of temptations.

Cutting corners will only get you off track. These detours can be ethical, emotional, financial or even moral.

The lies you tell to yourself will come back to haunt you.

What’s the point of being successful if you can’t look yourself in the mirror?

The learning is in the journey

“But shortcuts are dangerous; we cannot delude ourselves that our knowledge is further along than it actually is.” — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Our society worships speed.

Fast has become the new imperative.

“How fast can you make it happen? “— I get asked a lot. Deadlines have become more important than the deliverable itself. But it shouldn’t be.

The journey is a learning experience.

Getting from A to Z is not the point. Focusing on where you want to be can be as damaging as being stuck where you are.

The experience between A and Z is what matters.

What have you learned? Which beliefs did you challenge? How many different solutions have you discovered?

Shortcuts make us ignorant.

Build your foundation first

“No shortcuts. None. It’s tough to build healthy habits. But the reward is priceless.” — Gymaholic

Designing your life is like building a house.

You can always change a window or the color of your room. But if you don’t build a strong foundation, the house will collapse.

I’ve crossed many people taking shortcuts to get promoted and accelerate their career paths. Most of them got stuck in the middle.

They didn’t develop the right skills and abilities. But, most importantly, their resilience.

The route to success is not linear. The ability to recover and bounce back separates successful people from those who succeed once or twice.

Focus on the foundation. Train your resilience.

Develop a routine. Build habits that will help you become successful.

Laziness drives to wrong decisions

“The brain is fundamentally a lazy piece of meat” — Gregory Bern, professor of neuroeconomics

Our brain likes to win. That’s why it takes shortcuts: to minimize risks.

Taking shortcuts requires no mental effort thus triggering irrational decision-making, as demonstrated by a study conducted at Duke University.

Participants were asked to play a simple economy game with $20 in house money. In the first scenario, they had to choose between “winning” for sure half of the house money or flip a coin to win or lose all. Most participants preferred a sure loss ($10).

The second scenario was exactly the same but the proposal was reframed. Instead of “winning for sure half of the $20”, they were told, “lose half of the $20 for sure”.

In both scenarios, the first choice was the safest: it guaranteed a $10 win. But the word “lose” deceived participants who opted for the irrational path of flipping the coin.

Always challenge yourself. Don’t make a quick choice.

Shortcuts promote brain laziness.

Today’s daily stretch: take the wiser road

“There are no shortcuts. You have to work hard, and try to put yourself in a position where if luck strikes, you can see the opportunity and take advantage of it.” — Mark Cuban

Easy. Fast. Scientifically proven.

The “how to become successful” articles are full of adjectives. But when you get past the headline, all you get are empty words.

Sorry, there’s no magic formula for success. If not, everyone will be using it.

Stop looking for shortcuts. Invest time and energy in preparing yourself. Reflect on your behaviors.

How do you deal with shortcuts?

How can you strengthen your foundation?

What can you start doing now? What long-term habits should you develop? Which ones should you get rid of?

Work hard. Commit to being the best you can be, not just to being successful.

Show up. Achievement is not a goal but a reward for your effort.

Experiment. Doing is the best way to get better at something. Practice.

Stretch. Change happens one new behavior at a time.

Today’s daily stretch: take the wiser road, not the shortcut.

Before You Go

Change happens one stretch at a time. Don’t take the shortcuts. Invest in improving your change fitness: