Is it Time to Take Your Eyes Off the Map?

eyes off the mapAs a Millennial, I don’t remember what it’s like to travel without a GPS (either the antiquated dashboard version or on my iPhone). When I first started driving, my parents would try to tell me how to get somewhere with “traditional directions.” Most times, I would just ask for the address, so I could type it in and get turn-by-turn directions on my phone. Most of the Millennials I know fall into the same category of being directionally dimwitted.

By following Google Maps on my iPhone, I no longer pay attention to my surroundings. I simply follow a little blue dot (my current location) and make sure it is heading toward the little red dot (the destination).

Life’s Little Blue Dot

Following the little blue dot is how most of our generation responds to navigating to places we’ve never been before. We have a destination in mind, and we’re not really sure how to get there. We’re searching for a place to find turn-by-turn directions for the decisions we have to make.

Unfortunately, our laser focus on reaching the destination or achieving success can be detrimental. We are so focused on the how to get from Point A to Point B that we are unaware of what is around us in the present. We miss the point of the journey.

The point of life isn’t to…

• Land your “dream job” so you never have to stress about work.
• Receive that promotion you’ve been wanting.
• Make a certain income.
• Build a dream house and start a family.

Those are all great things. But if we pursue them at the expense of what is happening around us NOW, we are missing the best part of living.

The best part of life isn’t tomorrow; it’s today.

Take Your Eyes Off the Map

So how can we effectively shift our sole focus from making the little blue dot reach the red dot and embrace what’s happening today?

1. Don’t Overplan

If you’re like me, you try to eliminate any risks by gathering information to help answer every question you have about the journey. Unfortunately, there have been times when this “planning process” has become an excuse for abandoning the journey. I’m all about life planning and project planning, but sometimes you can spend more time planning than you do living. At some point, you just need to do something.

2. Take a Detour

It’s amazing how much we can miss by focusing on the same turn-by-turn directions we always follow. For example, I’ve found some of my favorite places in Nashville by simply taking a different route home. It’s amazing what you’ll find when you’re willing to forgo what’s familiar and take a route you’ve never been before.

3. Find a Compass, Not a Map

Life doesn’t come with turn-by-turn directions. There will be unexpected obstacles, roadblocks, and traffic along the way. In those moments, a compass can still point you in the right direction. Finding a mentor or community to remind you of the principles that help you navigate obstacles and keep you moving toward your destination is one of life’s most valuable assets.

The next time you’re tempted to follow life’s little blue dot, take your eyes off the map and enjoy the journey. Believe me; you won’t regret it.

How do you intentionally “take your eyes off the map?”

Jeremy Chandler

Jeremy Chandler

Jeremy Chandler is a 20-something who loves coming alongside other Millennials to navigate through the topics of leadership, career development, and personal growth. He currently lives in Nashville, TN and jumps at any opportunity to connect over coffee.
Jeremy Chandler
Jeremy Chandler

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Gary Gruber says:

    Actually, a map may be a better choice than a GPS. Story of Dad and son going on trip, leaving GPS and Smartphone behind. Dad says to son, “Go into that gas station and buy a map. Here’s $5.” Son: “What’s a map?” He comes out with dusty, folded paper map and they unfold it and look at the possibilities for their trip, off the beaten paths of Interstates and shortest distances. Son learns how to read a map, create options and become a 1st class navigator. Sees places you can’t see on GPS or phone. Says to Dad, “How did you know about this stuff?” Dad, smiling, says, “You would be surprised at what I learned and still know.” And off they went on a wonderful adventure of exploration and discovery.

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