Amy Rees Anderson

Walk Toward The Landmark In The Distance

Do you ever feel like you have been busy all day, but accomplished very little?  Do you ever feel like you have been working hard to complete your day to day tasks, only to wake up tomorrow and feel like you are trapped in the movie “Groundhog Day” where each day seems to just repeat itself over and over, as if you are simply walking in circles?  I would guess all of us have felt this way at one time or another.

As I was contemplating why we go through the feelings of going around in circles and getting nowhere I came across a perfect article that put it all into perspective for me:

“Have you ever heard the old saying that people who get lost tend to walk in circles?

Jan L. Souman, a German psychologist, wanted to determine scientifically if this was true. He took participants of an experiment to a large forest area and to the Sahara desert and used a global positioning system to track where they went. They had no compass or any other device. Instructions to them were simple: walk in a straight line in the direction indicated.

Dr. Souman later described what happened. “[Some] of them walked on a cloudy day, with the sun hidden behind the clouds [and with no reference points in view]. … [They] all walked in circles, with [several] of them repeatedly crossing their own path without noticing it.” Other participants walked while the sun was shining, with faraway reference points in view. “These … followed an almost perfectly straight course.”

This study has been repeated by others with different methodologies. All returned similar results.

Without visible landmarks, human beings tend to walk in circles.”   _Dieter Uchtdorf

After reading this I realized exactly what the problem is – so often we get busy doing important things each day but we forget “why” the things we are doing are important and we forget what it is we are trying to accomplish in the big picture.  We forget the long term goal we were aiming for that made the tasks important in the first place.

For example, we work every day to earn a living but the long term goal is to be working ourselves toward a goal of financial freedom.  If we kept that goal in mind each day as we went to work we would probably approach our jobs differently.  We would far more entrepreneurial in our decisions and attitudes because we would be trying to work toward the long range goal of financial freedom.  And that focus would most likely help each of us to get ahead more quickly in our careers.

Another example, we clean our homes to keep them clean, but the long term goal is to be creating a more peaceful environment for our families to enjoy together.  If we remembered that long term goal we would recognize that we shouldn’t obsess on cleaning so much that it ends up stopping us from having any time to enjoy our families.  And by keeping that in mind we would clean to make it feel nice in our home but never let it cut into family bonding time.

It seems like such a “duh” thing now that I think about it.  We would be so much better off if we could start keeping our long term goal in mind as we do things day to day so we don’t find ourselves starting to walk in circles again!  I LOVED this reminder and it came at the perfect moment in my life for me.  I love it when the lessons you need the most come at the perfect time in life.  So I am going to make a huge effort in my own life to keep the long term goal – my far off landmark – in my sights at all times and then walk vigorously ahead toward it!

Have a great day!!

~Amy

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