A couple of Christmas’ ago we played Snakes & Ladders. My youngest son was fed up with sliding back down the snake but stuck it out. He was almost at the end of the game and needed to throw a 5 to get home and dry. He threw the dice – it landed on 4 but he thought he could kid everyone so with a hop, skip and a jump he landed himself on the winning square and declared himself the champion. We pointed out the obvious but he insisted he didn’t cheat so we ignored him and carried on playing.
You may not feel this has anything to do with business; I think that this offers a valuable insight on how our minds work. At the time Monty was 6 and yet he thought by taking a shortcut rather than slogging it out with the inimitable frustrations that accompany such things he would achieve success. The reality was that he ended up feeling bad about cheating. He also saw the look of euphoria on his brother’s face when Archie reached the end of the game without using any shortcuts and he knew he hadn’t felt the same way.
Shortcuts may save you some time, but in business the rewards are negligible. Here are a couple of reasons why:
It wastes time. Quick fixes and shortcuts result in poor performance and you end up redoing what was done fast instead of what should have been done right the first time.
The shortcuts will take you off-track ergo will increase the length of time it takes to achieve your goal and you may not deliver the results you had planned on.
Sounds gloomy right?
There is a simple answer though.
Don’t take a shortcut.
Keep focused – don’t ignore or duck out of things because they suck, or are unpleasant or because you’re fed up of sliding down the snake. Take a long hard look at the particular thing that is giving you grief and see whether it is all of it or just part of it and then work out how to break that down into bite-size chunks. If you hate something that much then find a different way to tackle it e.g. if it’s the accounts then outsource them.
Many of the goals we want to achieve have already been achieved by countless numbers of other people. Take a look around and see what steps they had to take in order to be successful. Each step is very much like a little success on its own and little successes do add up. Pay your dues to steadily develop towards success rather than take detours on shortcuts that can actually set you back.
Life has an amazing way of helping you realise your dreams in ways far from what you could have ever imagined at the beginning of your dream. It’s bigger. It’s better. There’s no way to get there with a shortcut.