If you’re not careful, shortcuts might be the source of your downfall.

Most of our lives are lived in the details. Those small moments that change our actions, beliefs, and resolve for the better. These are the moments that shortcuts remove.

We all go through moments where we want a shortcut. We see the future we want to be a part of, and we feel the need to be there now. We don’t want to waste any more time on the sidelines or in practice. We want to be the star on the court.

Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to get hooked on shortcuts. Why go through the struggle when there is a premade path waiting for you? Why risk failure when there is this opportunity to remove all the obstacles?

There are plenty of reasons to like the idea of shortcuts, but they aren’t always what they’re made out to be:

Challenges Will Come, Are You Prepared?

At some point, you’re going to face the challenges. The question is: Are you prepared?

Shortcuts may be able to get you closer to your goals, but very rarely do they take you all the way to where you want to be. Even if they do get you to where you want to be, will shortcuts allow you to stay there? We all run into a rough patch sooner or later. Shortcuts won’t prepare you for these rough patches. When you take alternatives, you don’t create the skills needed to work through difficult challenges. Instead, you become really good at riding along while things are going well. You might be able to run a business while the economy is flourishing, but what do you do when struggles come our way?

Shortcuts often lead to further problems down the line.

Did You Earn It?

It feels really amazing to reach your goals. With each accomplishment, your confidence and joy will grow. You feel a fantastic sense of achievement from accomplishing something you weren’t sure you were capable of. These feelings, however, come with a prerequisite. You must feel like you made great efforts to get to where you are. Getting a promotion or winning a competition feels really good as a result of the hard work you had to go through and the challenges you had to overcome.

When you take shortcuts, you might find it hard to look in the mirror and feel like you genuinely earned what you have. It may get you to your goals faster, but it will not be nearly as satisfying.

Through the Journey, You Find out What You’re Capable Of

Finding the furthest extent of our capabilities usually requires opposition, challenge, and failure. You have to get knocked down and see how well you’re able to get back up.

If you are pursuing something big, you are going to come up against problems you don’t know how to handle. These are the moments you have to either get creative or force yourself to expand into roles you don’t usually assume. Challenges will allow you to become a more capable person and leader.

If you repeatedly choose to take shortcuts, you are removing your potential as a human being to grow and change for the better.

It Can Be Quick, but It Should Require Effort

When chasing your dreams, efficiency is essential. The clearer you are on where you are and what you want, the better your pursuit will be.

Avoiding shortcuts doesn’t mean taking the slowest path to get to your goal. Find a way to make an impact early on. Progress toward your goal quickly, if you can. Don’t be afraid to move up a little before you feel ready. Achieving a goal quickly is a great feeling, and there is nothing wrong with pursuing that feeling.

Shortcuts, in this sense, are those things that get you out of responsibilities that are essential parts of your goal. If you want to be a leader, you have to take advantage of the smaller leadership opportunities along the way. Otherwise, you’ll likely feel overwhelmed, and it will be challenging to catch up with the learning curve. If you want to be an athlete, you sometimes have to be willing to join a great team and sit on the bench. This world is so competitive that the difference between your dream and second place might end up being one shortcut.

You make commitments to yourself every day. If you’re trying to justify breaking or attempting to slightly modify a promise, then you might be looking for a shortcut. It may seem inconsequential, but giving in just once opens the door to loosening your standards again in the future.

Conclusion

It’s easy to enjoy the comfort and safety of a shortcut. It’s easy to accept an invitation to avoid your obstacles for the day. Just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s always in your best interest. Sometimes you need a challenge. Challenges allow you to grow your confidence, capabilities, and self-conceptions. If you never do anything difficult, you will rarely reach your dreams. Even if you did reach your goals you would likely feel a slight dissatisfaction that you didn’t do the work to achieve it.

Is it possible to go through life without taking any shortcuts? I don’t know. I certainly haven’t achieved it. I do, however, know that we can limit them. We have to find a spot where we love ourselves, but also push ourselves when things get complicated.

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