Many years ago, when money was tight and the daily commute was 140 miles, my minivan started shimmying as I drove along. Several days later I took it to the dealer nearest my workplace. When I picked it up, the mechanic took me below ground level so I could see the underside of my van. He pointed to a nasty dent in the axle , and advised me to replace the axle before my wheels fell off as I drove home. The cost was significant and the minivan 6 years old, so I decided to risk driving it a few more days.
A few days later, I took it to my local mechanic, told him about the dent in the axle, and asked him to advise me on repairing versus replacing it. He fixed it that day and the tab was $75. A huge relief, but why such a difference? Ruben Crenwelge (best mechanic ever) told me the wheels needed aligning and balancing. “But what about the huge dent in my axle?” I asked. “Yes, there is a dent in your axle, but it isn’t hurting anything,” he told me. I drove that minivan for at least another 100,000 miles; the axle never caused me a problem.
I was worrying about catastrophe when the problem was minimal.
Recently I recalled the minivan dilemma when thinking about a medical issue I dealt with a few years ago. For weeks a horrible pain ran all the way down my left leg. One doctor wanted to run an MRI and check for multiple sclerosis; another doctor was seen who asked numerous questions about home life, work life, habits, hobbies and any recent changes. I remembered that my desk had recently been replaced with a new, much higher one. He thought the pain might be from pressure on the back of my leg, now that my feet practically dangled from the higher adjustment on my chair. We decided to try a new chair with a firm cushion and a footstool. A few weeks later, I was pain-free and remain so to this day.
A simple solution was found, while a complex one was averted.
As you head toward your biggest and most important goals, you may feel overwhelmed at times. The requirements may seem too complex to surmount. The roadblocks and pitfalls can feel catastrophic. So here is an idea: The next time your path is hard, try stepping off the path. Let your imagination see the path from a distance, and look for other routes you could take.
It just might pay to explore the simple route first.