“Right” turns only

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could avoid wrong turns in your life?  If you could predict in advance the “right” job, investment or business?  I laughed recently when I read that UPS drivers are instructed to make as many right turns as possible – avoiding the waiting that making left turns often requires.  In fact, efficiency is so much a part of the UPS culture that 90% of their turns are to the right, as opposed to the left.  UPS trucks drove 2.5 billion miles last year, but they estimate that by turning right whenever possible they saved over 28 million miles of driving and three million gallons of fuel.

What if you could find the “right” turns in your own life, avoiding the ones that wasted time, money and energy?  Is there a computer system or programming code that could map things out that strategically?   Maybe not, but I’m confident that if we put comparable time into planning our future as UPS does into driving efficiently, we could dramatically increase our success and sense of fulfillment.  Too often I talk with people who have just allowed life to “happen” rather than recognizing they can plan and guide tomorrow and the coming years. 

Decide now what you want 2009 to look like.  Decide what “success” means for you.  As part of my 2006 goals I had written that I wanted to do 25 radio/TV interviews that year.  On January 21st of this year I did 18 radio interviews on that day alone.  This year I have done close to 250 interviews.  The writing and personal goals I identified in 2006 seem small now – but if I had not written them down they would likely have never come into view. 

Are you identifying your “right” turns for 2009?  If not, you will be pulled along by the circumstances of your surroundings.  Let’s just commit to making “right” turns 90% of the time in the coming year – and why not go ahead and start today?

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5 Responses to ““Right” turns only”

  1. Jenni Pullen Says:

    Thank you for the “aha” moment! This will help me map out my goals for 2009 both professionally and spiritually. Cheers to gaining control of our lives and taking more right turns! Jenni – Des Moines, IA

  2. Paul Says:

    Thanks for the insight. I’m going to try it your way this year. It occurs to me that I have been too passive in my own life. Although I do ok, I see my work life as far too frequently little more than an endurance test.

    Goal 1: Take an active role in changing my life.

  3. frank Says:

    As always, an excellent tip!

  4. Nick Hein Says:

    Dan,
    I’m a car-free bicyclist, but I could relate to the UPS story about right turns. In my case planning my routes to minimize left turns across traffic saves a very important sort of time – lifetime.

    I’ve been running Positive Spin (sustainable transportation and bike recycling) in Morgantown, WV for 3 years now. I’ve just found out my (aerospace) job is ending this week so I’m looking for ways to make it put food on the table. We already have our 501c3 status and have established lots of working relationships with other organizations but none of them generate income. This will be my new challenge. I’m looking forward to it, even though I don’t have a lot of family support.

    btw My preferred email is nick.hein@verizon.net but it seems to be getting blocked on your site when I try to sign up for the newsletter. Is there a way you can unblock it?

  5. Mike Says:

    Nice post. Thanks. I’m sure you’ve probably read about “wu wei”, which is similar to what you are talking about: Finding the most efficient and simple way of doing things. Working *with* nature to get things done, instead of against it. And so on. Wu Wei is something I’ve been living by for years.

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