I used to think there was a map I had to follow. If I went from A to B then C would come next.
I’m starting to realise that there isn’t actually a map, but a wilderness.
This probably sounds a bit defeatist. It isn’t meant to.
I still think we should have a design for life. We should set plans and work hard to achieve them.
What I also believe is that we should get comfortable with ambiguity.
No matter how carefully crafted and detailed your plan is, life is going to get in the way.
So what can we do about it?
Here are my thoughts on how to travel through the wilderness…..
1. Accept that control is an illusion. We can’t control everything so accept it, move on and be flexible to the changes that occur in your plans.
2. Take a leap of faith every now and then. It’s comforting to keep mining for data to make plans even more perfect but sometimes it’s just better to do it and learn whilst you are delivering the plan.
3. You can’t know everything. It’s impossible to have all the information. Working with others will help you gain different perspectives and add to your knowledge base.
4. Some decisions will be wrong. I listened to an interesting HBR podcast recently that said the quality of any decision should not be measured on the outcome, but on the quality of thought that lead to the decision. It’s an interesting thought.
5. Trust your instincts. As I wrote about in a previous post (Out of Time), thin-slicing to make decisions is a really valid tool.
I would encourage you to travel far and wide. Make sure you enjoy the wilderness whilst you are doing it!
About the song:
Before New Order there was Joy Division. Wilderness is a track from Joy Division’s first studio album “Unknown Pleasures“. Deep, dark, intense and brilliant. This track perfectly demonstrates the components that made Joy Division such a unique band that still influences music today.