IT happens all the time. Confronted with choice, we take the easy option. We do what’s convenient. Rather than what’s required. We float, allowing ourselves to get carried away without getting anywhere, rather than pushing ourselves and swimming to the intended shore.
Life is like that. Tempting us continuously with comfortable but unproductive options - moving us away from the hard work required to achieve our goals. And when you find that happening to you, it might be a good idea to think of the two Spanish friends who went deer hunting.
They set out in their mini-truck, and headed off to the jungle. Parking it at a distance, they walked into the bushes to a position of vantage down in the valley, waiting for their prey. They finally managed to shoot down a deer. And then began the long journey to take the deer back to their truck.
The two friends clasped the deer’s tail, and began to drag it towards their Ford. A farmer saw them struggling, and shouted out some advice: “That’s not the way to do it fellas! God made handles for you to drag the deer. You see the antlers on the deer? Those horn-like things? Hold that – and pull the deer!”
The two friends looked at each other and decided to heed the advice. They went to the other side, grabbed the deer’s antlers and continued to drag it. Ten minutes later, one of them said, “The farmer was right. It’s much easier this way!”
“That’s right,” said his friend, “Only problem is we’re now going farther and farther away from our truck!” If you think about it, we are all like that. We are constantly looking for the handles – the antlers – to make our lives a bit more easier. And we start pulling away as soon as we find them, forgetting that we may be headed in the wrong direction.
Clearly, it’s important to ensure that in that moment of convenience, we don’t lose sight of our real destination, our true goals. And we see the deer’s antlers tempting us throughout our lives. A young mother sees her little one sucking his thumb. She knows it’s not good for his health – but prefers to ignore it. “At least he’s not crying when he’s doing that!” A young student chooses a course of study because the institute is next door, or because the timings are convenient. Not because it matches her aptitude, or her aspirations.
MD, Kimberly-Clark and Executive Coach
And as the Bollywood film 3 Idiots beautifully demonstrated, some students study engineering merely because they manage to get admission into an institute of technology, not because they want to grow up and become engineers. Find antler. Pull. Never mind where!
Look back on your own life. And you will probably see several instances where you grabbed the antlers as soon as you saw them – only to find yourself moving farther and farther away from your goals. If you ask yourself the question why you did something, the answer will probably be “because it was there”. In life, as in city driving, it’s not enough to find the best roads and then drive on them. It’s important to ensure that the roads will take you where you need to go.
And as luck would have it, the path to your goals in life is often strewn with obstacles. It’s a bumpy ride. There may be roadblocks and hardships. But it’s often the only way to get to your goals. There will be exits, tempting you to leave the chosen path and take another road. Don’t succumb to it. The nice easy road may look tempting – but remember to check if it will take you where you want to go.
Never lose sight of your goals. Remember where you want to go, at all times. Learning to spot the antlers to pull the deer by is important. Remembering where you need to go, even more so.