When I was kid we lived a little over an hour from my grandmother’s. As my father navigated the roads to her house, I could tell that he was traveling down familiar paths. He knew exactly when to speed up and when to slow down. His command of the car demonstrated an understanding of the curves in the road.
He was clearly driving roads he had driven thousands of times before.
Occasionally my dad would take us through a back road, an unfamiliar and unmarked path to grandma’s. When he made a turn I didn’t know, I would question him. And then he would explain that we were taking a shortcut. Sometimes we would cut five to ten minutes off the trip off. Less time driving meant more time eating apple pie.
I love shortcuts. They get us to where we need to go, but require less effort and time and resources.
Sometimes we find shortcuts because somebody else told us about it. They show us the side road we never noticed before. Most of the time we discover shortcuts for ourselves when we have enough experience to realize there is a better way.
But sometimes we mistake an easy-cut for a shortcut.
The easy-cut is merely a way out of doing the work we should do. The easy-cut is a technique not of efficiency, but of avoidance.
The easy-cut takes us down the wrong road and never gets us to the same place. In the end, the easy-cut demands more from us than if we had taken the long way around.
The easy-cut robs you of the experience that would enable you to find shortcuts.
And the trickiest part is that it can be really hard to tell the difference.
We are most susceptible to take an easy-cut early on our journeys, when we are just beginning to try to live a better story. At these times it is easy to be discouraged at how hard the work is and how long it might take to get there.
Consider taking the long way to your better story. Through time and work and sweat and mistakes we gain the experience to understand how to find a more efficient route.
Only by navigating the roads, taking the turns slowly, making wrong turns, and understanding how to get there the long way are we able to learn how to find the good shortcuts.
If a road seems too easy, it probably is.