There is a fork in the road.
Up the ante a little bit. iPhone and Google Maps are not working. The paper map is hand drawn and simply shows following along the water’s edge. I’m alone on a trail in the wilderness.
I decide to stay right… keep water in my sight on the right because I’m on a small island.
It’s getting late. I’ve already walked over 5 miles this day. I’m starting to sweat and not because it’s too warm.
I’m in Kodiak, Alaska. Home of the Kodiak bear. A large bear. I’m walking alone on a dense trail through heavy trees and brush. What will I do if I come upon an animal? What will I do if I don’t find the trail head? What if I was supposed to go left at the fork instead of right?
I confidently accepted the invitation to teach Brain Gym® 101 in Alaska. It was a choice. Did I doubt my decision? Yes, at times. But, going on a trip to teach in a faraway land is more than choosing to say “yes.” It’s about stretching beyond one’s comfort zone.
Were my desires to travel alone in February in winter in Alaska shrouded in skepticism? Yes! I begged my husband to join me. He resolutely refused. I went anyway. It was my choice to tackle this adventure head on! Five planes, one train, multiple taxis, a shuttle, a few “new” friends and my own 2 feet were my modes of transportation. Cuddle duds, long underwear, 2 pairs of boots, ultra-warm socks, and of course dress clothes along with manuals, books, and other tools for teaching filled my large suitcase and backpack. I know myself and know being comfortable increases my confidence.
Let’s go back to that hike. The trail was well marked for 30 minutes and it was a solitary trail. Until there was a fork. My confidence wavered. I looked at my phone and at the paper map. No help. I decided observing my surroundings was my best bet. Eyes wide open, I chose to take the path to the right. After what felt like forever, I began to hear city sounds. Memorial benches became more common. As dusk settled into the woods, I continued at a quick clip. Finally, I glimpsed a port filled with commercial fishing boats. I sped up. Next, I saw the bridge that would return me to Kodiak Island. I kept my pace. And then, in the blink of an eye, I emerged from the forest. Smiling ear to ear, I took a photo of the trail marker.
Logical Choice and Resulting Consequence
Keeping right was the safe logical choice but it turns out it was the longer route. Had I turned left, I would have emerged from the woods quite a bit before.
Reflecting on life’s events is often similar. A decision may allow for a short cut. But sometimes, safety is in the longer route. I am an analyst. I can even over-think simple decisions. In real-life, present-time situations, I find a deep breath with senses available (eyes looking and ears listening) helps me confidently make decisions. Perhaps even more importantly, when I choose consciously, I’m better able to defend and rationalize my actions.
It’s all about the choice.