Go with the flow (getting what you really want, faster)

Today I was driving to a coffee shop, and it was 4PM in midtown so traffic was quite busy.

Suddenly someone in front of me braked- hard. So I braked, hard. A big truck was pulling out in front of him, and they were trying to make a left turn.

The problem is this truck had to cross 3 lanes of traffic, then hope the other side was clear too!

Needless to say it was not intelligent on the driver’s part to halt this traffic to get across. Drivers in the middle lane had to stop, and then he jumped past the far left lane to get by.

To better picture what happened, I was driving on the far right lane of a 3 lane road. The other side of the street has 3 lanes too. A driver was attempting to take a left turn, thereby having to cross the 3 lanes I was going but also hope the other 3 lanes were clear.

When I looked into the truck, I saw a look of stress on the driver’s face. The problem is, I often see this look on people.

In fact, way too many people aren’t using their brains while driving and thus are so stressed + taking longer to arrive at their destination.

Keep reading, this is going to make sense in a moment.

Don’t Turn Left…

It baffles me how many “left turns” people make while driving, and I’m not talking about the left turns you make at a stoplight or stop sign.

You know when you have a stop sign, but you need to cross a 2-way road so you have to yield to both the traffic going left/right? That’s what I’m referring to.

Making a left turn in these cases makes no sense yet EVERYONE does it and it blows my mind because there’s a much more simple (and safer) solution!

I recently discovered that it was often faster (and significantly safer) to just take a right, then take a U-Turn at the next stoplight or left turn.

I know this might be a bit hard to understand, but just try picture it. For my non-American/Canadian friends, this may be hard to picture because this occurs less in Europe based on my experience driving.

The problem here is that people are fighting 2 flows of traffic compared to one at a time.

If you need to take a left turn on a 2-way street, first you must yield to the traffic approaching you on your left then you must merge onto or hope the traffic on your right is clear.

During rush hour & often throughout the day, this is dangerous and time-consuming. Back when I would attempt this (as too many people do), you’d often spend several minutes in the car waiting for a clear moment to drive across, then you’d have to put the pedal to the metal because you were only clear for so long.

In the example I mentioned in the beginning of this post, the driver didn’t even give a fuck- he just made our traffic stop, then barely merged onto his lane without getting hit.

The Flow Isn’t Always Direct

So where am I even going with this? My point is that “the flow” doesn’t always make sense.

In my driving example, it is sometimes more time-efficient and always safer to take a right then take a U-Turn when you need to take a left onto a two-way street without stop lights or stop signs protecting you from the two-way street.

What’s best for you often isn’t the “direct” approach. Every single day I’m driving I see drivers young and old waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and then making a dangerous left turn onto an active 2-way street because they never stop to consider if there’s a safer, faster, and overall better (less stress) option.

When I say “turn right,” that doesn’t mean you continue driving right. It’s a temporary deviation from the most direct path which gets you to your destination safer & hopefully faster.

By “going with the flow” and “letting go of the means” you get what you want (arriving at your destination) more efficiently (and happier).

Means vs. End

One of the biggest problems people have in life is their need to control the means to how they achieve their success or goals.

This is a terrible way to approach life.

What you need to do instead is define where you’re going (what is the destination?) then determine the quickest/smartest/fastest way to get there.

Again I reference my driving example: too many drivers are too focused on the means, which is taking a left because they have to go left. The wiser option is to consider your destination, then realize there are multiple ways to get to your destination. When driving in rush-hour traffic, it is more efficient to take a right then a U-turn than it is to cross 2 paths.

You can witness this insane behavior in all areas of life: for example, someone is obsessed with one diet to heal their obesity. Rather than focusing on their end-goal & adjusting the means, they obsess over the means.

A big one in society is the whole “university” scam. The fact is for a lot of people going to University is a waste of time. Now, it’s very useful for some people & professions, but for many people they’re funneled into it because teachers & educators are too obsessed with the means (studying, as one path to success) rather than the end (financial prosperity).

Focus on Ends, Release Means

One of my current “Ends” is finding a way to get a visa to live in Bulgaria and subsequently get residency. One of my means (getting a freelance visa) didn’t work out because I’m missing one document. I’m upset because I wasted a flight to Chicago & back + accommodation to not get my end!

If I were obsessed with the means, I would obsess with getting the missing document. However a more logical approach reveals that it is unwise to attempt to obtain the document.

In order to get my missing document & live in Bulgaria I will need B1 proficiency in Bulgarian. I currently speak A1 or A2 1-2 levels below.

If I were obsessed with the means, I’d move to Bulgaria on a tourist visa, study like crazy for 3 months, then apply for this document & return to the USA. However, I know that this isn’t wise and there are currently 4 other “Means” I can use to attempt to live in Bulgaria.

It is more time & cost efficient to attempt these other means than it is to be persistent in this one mean.

Now, note here that I say not to be persistent on one particular mean, but I am being persistent on my End.

I want residency in Bulgaria, and I’ve already flown to apply for it twice in Chicago and each time I came back to Phoenix with nothing. Every single time I don’t move forward toward my End, I adjust my Means and re-attack.

One problem I see with people is they obsess over one “means.” They want to be rich, so they pursue an expensive degree. I’m not saying an expensive degree won’t get them rich, just that there are other paths to the End than that!

Another situation I see is someone wants “to travel the world” so they become a flight attendant, or get involved with some travel agency. Or they become a pilot. They “travel” by the technical term, but they never really get to explore destinations they fly to!

Again, these individuals focused on one mean rather than realizing there are multiple means to an end.

Whatever you do, focus on the end, but release the means. How you achieve your goal doesn’t matter and you need to relax your death-grip on the obsession to achieve it in a certain way. Stay persistent on what you’re trying to achieve, but be willing to try all kinds of different things to succeed!

Know Your End

And finally, make sure you even know what your end is. I meet too many people in University still trying to figure out their degree.

Another thing that happens is people pursue a “Business Degree” but they’re not exactly sure what to do with it. It is better to meditate alone in nature and wait until you know what you want from life than it is to aimlessly take action.

Success is the result of calibrated action. If you do things in a certain way, you will get a certain result, 100% of the time. It’s a science, much like baking.

If in baking you mix the ingredients the wrong way or you substitute an ingredient or you just grab random ingredients and mix random things, it’s unlikely you’ll get good results.

Before embarking on anything, make sure your end goal is clearly defined. Yes, still have fun with the means, still enjoy the journey, etc. but also the journey & means are most enjoyed when you know you’re actually making progress by knowing what you’re moving towards.

Good luck!

-Michael