Chart a New Course

The conditions were treacherous for everyone around me, but I was perhaps more aware than most. It was the first day driving the 16' moving truck that carried all of my earthly possessions. It was day one of the road trip to New York City and I was on alert. The morning started off bright and early and we were making good time. That is until it took us over three hours to get through Little Rock, AR. It should have take 30 minutes. The ice and the the slush that cover the the highway had led to numerous pile ups and 18 wheelers sliding off the highway. The highway looked more like a parking lot at a roadside truck stop and I was stuck in the middle of it all.

After pushing through to the East side of Little Rock, I hoped to find that 1-40 to Memphis TN would be in better condition. That's not whatI found. In fact, what I found was worse. At a complete standstill, with no indication as to what had stopped the hundreds of cars and trucks ahead of us, I whipped out one of my most trusted allies and the resource I have used to get me out of many sticky situations: my iPhone. With a little work and a little creative thinking I saw what I thought might be a side street that would lead to a farm road that might get me over to a two lane highway running somewhat in the same direction as the parking lot of a major highway I was sitting on. So I gave it a shot. With my eyes peeled for the small signs and indicators that I had in fact found the road I was looking for, I pointed my truck for the nearest exit. And off we went. The side streets were not a smooth or manicured as the main highway, but they were less crowded. The side roads had more variation in the speed limits and the visibility, but they were free from the congestion of everyone else. From time to time the side roads we were on came within visibility of the main highway. As we were cruising along and back in control of our journey, I saw the hundreds of cars and trucks that had been ahead of me still sitting and waiting for someone else to change their circumstances and clear the road ahead of them. Three hours of side roads later, I looked over to the North and saw an 18 wheeler flipped over and blocking the entire major highway in the distance. That single accident had effected hundreds of miles of traffic. I took the next entrance ramp back onto the major highway and had smooth sailing for the rest of the evening. My day on the icy roads of Eastern Arkansas and the parallels to life were stark.

- We can't control all of our circumstances or what happens on the road ahead of us, just how we respond.

- The main road, the one that all our GPS device might indicate we should take, may be a safer and more obvious path to the destination we have in mind. But it is also the road that everyone is taking.

- It is okay to get off the main road and chase down a less direct, but perhaps more rewarding, course.

- Decisive action is necessary as soon as you know that you current course isn't going to get you where you want to go in the time frame that you want to get there. If you don't take the chance on the first exit you see, it may be a long time before you see that opportunity again.

- With a little foresight and confidence, making a mid-course adjustment and taking the road less traveled will pay off. It may not be obvious in the first turn, or even in the second, but with a commitment to the destination, there is always another way to get there.

- There are those that will choose to view themselves as victim of the mistakes of others and those that will choose to take the course of the journey into their own hands. "The last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." - Victor Frankl