One of the lessons to learn as you pursue THPL is that getting to the finish line, the end of a story, or top of a mountain is typically, anti-climactic, fleeting, and temporal. Therefore, less we be disappointed, it is important to learn that it is best to enjoy the effort to get there, have a respect for the commitment required to get there and have patience that allows time and diligence to win the day. It seems that in today’s ever growing convenience filled, and homogeneous world there is a race to the shortcut. Drive-thrus to speed access to food, lottery tickets to make someone rich, speed reading (and dating), express lanes, and the omnipresent express mail. And then there is of course the shortcut to the top. No need to pass go – just head on around the board. Or should I say, find a way to do less so that you could get ahead. Take credit for the work of others and, if asked, make up a plausible story as to how you became a “vice-president”.
My favorite of late is watching people in parking lots looking for the closest space to the mall, as if there was a prize for getting it. Sadly, it appears that there is little interest in putting an effort into walking into the mall - this is the epitome of shortcuts. Do I hear a cheer for “the shorter time the better”? And I would be remiss if I did not at least call out the seemingly most socially desirous form of shortcut, cheating – we cheat on tests, change the score of our golf game or we modify the deal we are working on. It all seems to conflict with the most lasting forms of success, such as the mastery of a trade like the sushi chef who only becomes a master after 10 years, or the years that a med-student toils to become a doctor, or the Olympic athlete who commits every day to train to be the best the world has seen. Yes, it all seems upside down.
And the dripping irony is that with this “shortcut” mindset you would think that we are saving time and we would be more productive and happy. But it appears from looking around, reading consumer surveys and scanning the news that this is indeed not the case. The conundrum then, is that-which appears to be a good approach, a shortcut of sorts, may not produce lasting return.
And so it goes, and not surprisingly the juxtaposition is THPL. Simply put there are no shortcuts on the way to the high-performance life. As a matter of course the shortcut takes you off the path as it does not allow you to build a strong, and resilient foundation, one that can take strain and load and respond well under pressure. There are so many examples, some that just require time and diligence, like losing weight. There is no one who over two years cannot lose all of the weight they need to lose. The other is endurance, running a marathon is relatively easy if you trained over 1,000 miles in a year. You recover quite quickly. And passing a certification test is ensured when you study the materials and collaborate with others to solve problems.
The bottom line is that you get back what you put into your endeavor. Shortcuts – like a house of cards create many issues when even the slightest wind blows in your direction. THPL - it sustains like a bomb shelter in a storm – it was built to survive and is ready for the inhabitants to take on their next big challenge and to be able to do so with confidence.
Sally to the end +20 seconds (sounds like a broken record), 190 pushups on 4:17.
Loving life, that’s all
PS - no shortcuts, ok?