Diet pills. Millionaire real estate courses taught on a Saturday afternoon at an airport hotel. Hacks. Infomercial workout DVDs. Tricks. Guidebooks that help you game a system.
These are all shortcuts, and despite the smiling people offering testimonials, shortcuts don't work. Shortcuts are hype, appealing to that carnal spot of your brain that wants to take the easy road, hoping for a quick fix so you can then have more time to indulge that same brain in personal or selfish pursuits.
I don't want you to take the shortcut. There is no life there because there is no journey there. There is life in taking the long way, in slogging through the everyday, filled with hard work, deep community, and struggle and joy.
This week marks my "boot-iversary." For three years, I've been part of a fitness bootcamp group. I don't think I look a lot slimmer than when I started, but this group is about more than weight loss for me. In the midst of 6 AM kettlebell swings, mile runs, bench hops, box jumps, and Turkish get ups, I've found community. I've found accountability. I've found that hard work and friendship matter a lot. I've found something better that's not even offered in 90 days of living room calisthenics.
It's natural to want the shortcut, but it's inhumane to take it. Shortcuts ultimately shortchange us, depriving us of the chance to meet people, to hear a story, to share a story, and to sit a spell. They force us to see just the highlights, making us act like a tourist instead of a citizen. And you never want to merely be a spectator when it comes to your own personal journey.
So please don't try to start and grow and sell your business in two weeks, thinking that's all it takes to develop a rock star company. If you do, you'll miss the joy that comes with overcoming an obstacle with your creative thinking and ingenuity. You'll miss the chance to infuse purpose into your business model. You'll miss the chance at a life and work you love.
And please don't try to meet someone, fall in love, and get married in a month. Love needs time to blossom. It's not like the annual you buy at the hardware store, plant in a pot on the porch, and then look at for a summer. Love is the oak tree, scarred and aged with years of storms and sun, but sturdy and reliable because its roots are deep. Don't exchange a moment of attention for a lifetime of intimacy.
Shortcuts don't help you become who you were meant to be. They dangerously accelerate a process that has so much to offer you. So if you come upon two roads diverged in a yellow wood, take the longer one. The other leads you nowhere.