The Journey Metaphor: @michaeldila on Fuzzy Goals & El Dorado

Michael Dila picks up Tara’s “Unclear Path” and riffs on it, adding in a couple of important points about this journey/traveler metaphor:

“What kind of people would rather take the hard way than the easy way? People who are looking for something, but don’t know what it is. There is a lesson in the historical/mythical place that the Spanish conquistadors called El Dorado: a lost city of the Mayans made of gold and containing untold riches. No one ever found El Dorado and the truth is it can never be found, not because it is a myth, but because those who seek it are more interested in the search.”

So again and again, especially when making decisions about where to go next, the people around me came up with the most direct possible route from where I was today to New York.  It was almost as if we automatically optimise for efficiency.  

And I had to patiently and kindly remind them that if the point of this was simply to get to NYC from San Francisco then I probably would not have ended up in their company having this conversation.  If I could have (and mostly I think that means, if I had been driving a car and I was less of a scaredy-cat) then I’d have made it even more convoluted, I’d have doubled back on myself, I’d have stayed in a different place every single night, I might have ended up leaving the USA altogether and actually heading south for El Dorado.  

Even as it was, options other than the direct appear insane – why would you go from SF to Austin via Seattle and Milwaukee? I could not possibly know the answer to that when I was sitting in Half Moon Bay. But I’m awfully glad that that’s what I did!


Let’s say it once again.  The point of this trip was *not* to see whether you can get from San Francisco to New York (of course you can, in many boring ways) it was to see what happens when you set a goal and then allow for the journey to unfold over the period of a month, letting other people in on the decision making. Which leads me to Michael again: 

“There’s something important that … is often missing from many mythological accounts of those who explore and experiment on the frontier: we do not do it alone.”

Please. Read The Whole Thing.

I may go round in circles for a bit with this, pulling out ideas, referencing them back to the trip and then trying to put them in a broader context.  That’s how I’m learning. Hope you are too.



Originally posted on Please Look After This Englishman

The Journey Metaphor: @missrogue on “The Unclear Path”

Sorry, this was supposed to be a “bonus link” for that last post but I got carried away with my own rhetoric.  Here, have some of Tara’s rhetoric instead.

“where is this road taking me? Well, that’s the craziest part of all…I’m not entirely sure.

However, I was heartened to learn recently that this is a keystone of being an entrepreneur. A study on a swath of successful entrepreneurs in INC Magazine found that, though we have lofty goals, like luggage, these goals may “shift during flight.” it stands to reason that unpredictable outcomes are bound to happen as one pioneers uncharted waters. Instead of nailing down a clear goal and barreling towards it, entrepreneurs ask questions that lead them towards answers.”

Originally posted on Please Look After This Englishman

Journey As Metaphor For The Way We Live Now

Why is the idea of a journey important right now?  How can we use the ideas about a journey to help us understand things that are changing or confusing or just too complicated in our everyday lives?  

That’s what I’m trying to do here.  Although I enjoy travelling and telling stories about what happened, just because what happened was fun, unexpected or interesting, I’m much more interested in drawing out what they mean and what the whole thing means about how we live life.

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to say that, I got too tangled up in just letting people know I was still here, still going, still OK.

Back to the question.  Why is it important?  

Because deep down we know that the current form of organising society and our economy is no longer working, has not been working for some time, is highly unlikely to go back to working the way it used to.  

We can feel the ache to bud and blossom in some new way.  We just don’t know what that new way will be.  It is entrepreneurs and artists who will create it.  The people who play with new ideas and try them out.  They are on a journey, on the uncharted path to the future, they try things, they put things out there that are half-baked, that they don’t really understand themselves yet, because that’s the only way to understand them.  

And all around them people are saying “No! Don’t do that!  Keep doing the old thing, stay at home, in the old place. You have to know what you’re going to do before you set out so make a very detailed and accurate plan. If you really must go out there, only follow the paths that others have trodden before you”

But they’re wrong, the important thing is to set out, to get on the road.  And everyone who does that is in a little way making it easier for others to do so too and ultimately making it possible for us all to survive.  And so those people need encouragement.  They need to be affirmed and told that they are doing the right thing.  And that is why they deserve to have art made about them and what they do, to help them and the people around them to understand what they are doing and how they are living.  

And that’s what this is all about.

Originally posted on Please Look After This Englishman