My son and I are reading the original Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. This exchange appears in the book:
Alice asked the Cheshire Cat, who was sitting in a tree, “What road do I take?”
The cat asked, “Where do you want to go?”
“I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it really doesn’t matter, does it?”
I’m often asked for advice on what to do next in complex situations. The question I find myself asking is:
What’s the outcome you want?
The most common response to that question is:
Often followed with, “Good question,” or “I probably should have more clarity on that,” or “I hadn’t thought much about it until this moment.”
Like most animals, we are good at seeing what’s right in front of us. Unlike most animals, we have a capacity to envision a different future.
There’s nothing wrong with walking around aimlessly. In fact, we should all be doing more of it. David Allen, the author of Getting Things Done, says:
Not only do you need to spend time thinking, you need to spend time not thinking – absolutely daydreaming.
So, daydream away.
And then, when the time comes to make an intentional turn, decide first where you’re going. If you do, it’s easier to see which road to take.