Just Turn Right

My mom is a nervous passenger. She never learned to drive, and therefore must be driven to wherever she needs to go. Often, when encountering a busy intersection, she will anxiously say,"Just turn right - It's easier."

"It is easier," I reply. "But we are headed downtown, and turning right will take us back home."

I hear similar comments from some of my music students, as well. When learning a challenging new chord or technique, I often hear, "Is there an easier way to do this?" 

Sometimes I tease them a bit and say, "Of course. The easiest way is to not do it at all. Just send me your money from home. That would require the least amount of effort."

But seriously, how can anyone expect to get where they're going by always wanting to take the easiest path - a path that may actually lead them away from where they are headed? 

I love Yosemite, and have driven up to the top of Glacier Point several times to admire the breathtaking views, but the story I more often tell people about is when I hiked to the top of Half Dome. I drive every day somewhere, but that grueling uphill hike tested me in so many ways: up and up the steep switchbacks, past amazing moss covered waterfalls, a scary-as-heck saddle shaped section with both sides dropping off to the valley below, up that last near vertical section where I had to hold on to cables to get up, and the top... a huge area so high above the world I could barely get the nerve to even stand up. The climb down was even scarier for me, as someone ahead had become paralyzed with fear and stopped... with me holding on to the cables just wanting to get down. I learned a lot about myself that day and am so happy I took the challenge. The only thing I remember about driving to the top of Glacier Point other than the tremendous view - is the huge parking lot and the snack bar.

So my point in telling you all of this, is to suggest that you ask yourself what it is that you are actually trying to accomplish. Are you trying to learn a new skill, or trying to find a shortcut to catch a glimpse of what you might experience if you actually took the time to learn it?

Nowadays, when my mom suggests I simply turn right to avoid traffic, I try to assure her that no, we need to turn left. And I add, "But I will take my time and make sure it's safe before I do." That seems to help.

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