Sometimes when we are in the middle of a life or work situation, we do not apply the lessons we have learned in the past. Take a recent trip to the beach, for example. I was merrily playing one of my favorite roles—of adventurous uncle—as the plan was to take my niece and nephew clamming. I neglected to remember that sometimes shortcuts can lead to mistakes.
One interesting note would be to point out how the sea and air have changed the coast over time. I raise that issue here to point out something about the tale I am about to recount, but I will revisit the idea of “shifting sands” later in the context of business.
The three of us were walking towards the clamming spot of choice and I began thinking about the best way to access it, given the fact that it had become more and more difficult to get to over time. Really, there were two choices: to take the conservative circle route around, or, climb over a large, steep, and wild dune (which would be the faster route).
I admit that I wanted to get to the business of instructional family clamming, so I decided to take the shortcut. I knew this would mean carrying children and equipment—and carry with it an unknown amount of risk—but the reward seemed worth it. After laboring up and over and down the dune and then trudging through the muddy sand-land mix, my niece said, “Uncle Jim, you are bleeding.” In fact, there was blood flowing from the bottom of my foot, painlessly yet profusely.
I was forced to postpone the clamming expedition for another day, as the immediate order of business was to get my wound looked at and treated. I turned up at Urgent Care and was informed that the wait time would be approximately two hours.
So, for the second time in the day I was faced with two starkly different choices: either take the conservative approach and wait, or go home and have my nurse sister-in-law patch me up. But here was the rub (and the risk): I knew I probably needed a stitch or two, and as skilled as my sister-in-law is at first aid, she could only provide a butterfly.
Once again, I took a short cut, and once again, I made the wrong choice. I could go through all the blood-and-pus filled details, but instead I will neatly sum it up by saying that the choice I made set back my recovery, led to additional pain (and infection), and was not worth “saving” the two hours.
Remember my earlier thought about “shifting sands? During the ensuing week as I sat there with my foot elevated I could not help but thinking about how important it is to assess conditions (and risk) in life—and in business. And I also realized that often one bad choice can lead to another. Think about it for a moment: how many times have you “tried something” in your business that did not achieve the desired results? Do you accept that result every time and abandon the endeavor? Or do you compound the error?
At Sumus, we help you evaluate market conditions and prevent you from taking ill-fated shortcuts. Please contact us to learn more.