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  • Writer's pictureRobert Stevenson


Robert Stevenson Blog - Shortcuts and shows a route directly through a maze

One of the definitions of the word “shortcut” is, “an accelerated way of doing or achieving something; a shorter alternative route”. But, if you do further research you will find people who will tell you there are no shortcuts to success. People have stated, “When it comes to success, there are no shortcuts.” Others have said,“There are no shortcuts to anyplace worth going.” Or how about this one: “There are no shortcuts. It takes time to build a better version of you.”

Since there is a definition for the word SHORTCUT in the dictionary, should we not think that “shortcuts” do exist? I mean, it’s in the dictionary … it’s been defined, so they must exist. But, I did slide in the word SUCCESS, so does that change everything? There are shortcuts for some things, but NO shortcuts for success. Is that the way it is?

I personally believe there are shortcuts to success. Coaches, teachers, bosses and mentors can all help to shorten our learning curve by teaching us the things to do and not to do. Their knowledge and experience can be shared with us to help us get to where we want to go faster … BUT, more importantly … steer us away from things that will slow us down. There is not enough time in our lives to experience it all ourselves, so we should all search for “shortcuts,” or should I call it “wisdom” from others.

A seeker of knowledge went to the mountain top to ask the learned one: “Where does wisdom come from?” His reply was simply, “Good judgement.” So, the seeker then asked, “Where does good judgment come from?” His reply: “Experience.” The confused and frustrated seeker then asked, “Where does experience come from?” The learned one’s final reply: “Bad judgment.”

Others before you, have traveled down many of the roads you will travel. They have learned things, experienced things, figured things out that work and don’t work. You still must put in the time to learn or develop the skill … but why not practice it and learn it the right way. There’s an expression: “Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt.” The origin of that idiom is from the idea of getting a T-shirt at a tourist spot, in order to show others that you have been to that spot. The key to a shortcut for success is to seek those who have been there and done that and learn from them. As I’ve already said, we don’t have the time to experience all the mistakes ourselves, so let’s try and avoid them when at all possible by learning from others.

Bill Gates had an interesting way of looking for shortcuts. He stated: “I always choose a lazy person to do a difficult task, because they will find an easy way to do it.” A statement I often use in my programs is: Smart people learn from their mistakes. Wise people learn from other people’s mistakes. Every day you should be seeking wisdom from others (reading, listening, watching). Why experience the pain first hand, when you can learn from others who already have? That, to me, is a SHORTCUT to success.


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