You sit, head down, staring intently at the paper before you. You’re out to dinner with your parents. In front of them rests the boring, dull menus that all the other adults have. But not you. Since you’re a kid, you have a special menu.
On one side you have a word-search, some shapes to color in, and a crossword. On the other side, a giant maze.
You finish the word search before your parents have even ordered an appetizer. The shapes are colored in before drinks arrive. The crossword isn’t doing it for you so you leave it unfinished.
You flip the menu over and look at the maze.
The giant maze
It takes up the entire page. From corner to corner, there are lines going everywhere. And somehow, amongst all that chaos, you’re supposed to find your way to the treasure in the middle.
How? How are you ever going to get there?
You pick up your crayon and get started. It’s not long before you reach your first of many decisions. You’re at a fork with four different options. And from there, each of those four options branch off into their own set of decision trees.
You have no idea what to do so you choose a path and hope for the best.
It’s a dead-end.
Treasure is yours
You return back to where you were. This time, you choose a different path. That too is a dead-end. Appetizers have since come around and, though your parents insist that you try some, you decline.
The clock is running out. Dinner will soon arrive.
Eventually, you find a path that doesn’t stop but instead leads to more promising avenues. You push onward, continually hitting one dead-end, returning to where you were, then trying again. Over and over and over. Yet slowly, persistently, you make your way to the inner circle.
To the treasure at the center of it all.
And you get to it right as dinner is placed down before you. You did it!
Choosing from infinite options
On the road to goal success, to creating a meaningful, fulfilling life for yourself, it can often feel like a giant maze.
You have seemingly infinite options, all of which are appealing. How do you decide which to go with? Especially knowing that only one can lead to your desired end result.
You may ask a friend.
Yet your friend’s maze, while similar to yours, is not an exact copy. So their advice won’t work perfectly for you, even though it worked for them. You may read a book and, sadly, find the same thing to be true in that case as well.
Every maze is different
Ultimately, the only option you have is to take a step and see what happens.
If you hit a wall, return back to where you were and try a different route. Keep doing that until you make it to a new section. Then, press forward and do it again.
You can certainly get advice from friends, books, and mentors, but know full-well that their mazes are slightly different than yours. So though valuable, they can’t give you the exact path you need to take. That’s on you.
You will get there (so long as you keep going)
Take a step forward. Look around. If it feels like the right direction, keep going. If you hit a dead-end, return back to where you were and try a different route.
In the pursuit of goal success, trial, error, and a great deal of patience are required. Don’t give up on the maze because it’s hard. Instead, be grateful for the challenge. Learn from each path you take and use it to make the road ahead that much easier to navigate.
The treasure will be yours.