guide me

We all need a little guidance once in a while.  Sometimes more than others.  Some say that we have all the answers within us.  But tapping into good internal guidance could take a lifetime of full-time practice.  Who has that kind of time?

But finding quality guidance can be a challenge.  We are constantly bombarded by people and organizations eager to outline a yellow brick road.

The recipe for the right diet, the best medical treatment, where to stay in a foreign country, or even picking who to run our country depends on how we are guided.  What’s the best way to get from here to there?  How can I maximize an experience?  The formula can vary greatly but usually includes a healthy portion of luck (fate?).

This week I flew to Los Angeles for a quick two-day trip packed with back-to-back meetings.  The flight arrived late in the evening. I had to rent a car and drive for an hour.  The next morning I had to drive again to another city and later that evening the same.  A decade or so ago, all of that would have been tedious.  But I opened up the iPhone maps app and a voice guided me to each destination like I had a navigator (in my lap) who knew the best and most efficient way to get where I was going.

I was relieved and amazed with every turn (doesn’t take much).  The highways in Southern California crisscross all over the place and are fast moving (at least late at night).  Without the guidance of the gps voice, I would have been seriously hampered.  Without it, I would have spent a significant amount of extra time devoted to navigation.  With the good guidance of the flat, dead-pan but most efficient vocalization of the gps app, I was able to accomplish more and my two-day experience was a net gain.

If only we could cruise through life with the good guidance of this type of app.  A voice giving us directions for the best way get from here to there.

A few times I went off course (my mistake).  The voice didn’t get upset.  It simply immediately adjusted, no change in tone.  Once I took a purposeful detour and the voice still had my back.  (Plenty of unknown variables for diversions without loosing good guidance.)

which way should I go?

When I was in my early 20’s, taking a trip across Southern Europe was made much more fruitful by a companion guide book.  The latest Frommer’s publication was my gps app at the time.  It directed me to sections in a multitude of cities and places where I otherwise would not have found.  Certainly, without that good guidance, the trip would not have been as efficient or as full.

We are constantly reaching out for good guidance, either from others or ourselves.  Most of us develop our own internal good guidance gps-type apps.  But those apps, like all apps, need to be periodically maintained and upgraded.  We can’t just continue to use apps without adding relevant information and expect them to deliver the best results.

Driving through the LA area, I found myself wanting to please the gps guide voice.  I wanted to get it right and not go off course.  To do so, I had to stay alert and listen, not take my eyes off the road. I couldn’t listen to music and had to tune out external highway noise.  If only I could tap into some of those mental apps more effectively.  It probably takes the same type of concentration and attentiveness. (Yikes!)

Given that I don’t own a car, maybe the satisfaction of this week’s driving experience was simply the thrill of getting behind the wheel of a relatively new ride.  But without question, it was greatly enhanced by that voice guiding me where I needed to go.

Now if only I could find the good guidance for writing a post about guidance.  There is just too much ambient noise I’m not able to effectively filter.

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