The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want.
Choose your rut carefully, you’ll be in it for the next 50 miles.
— Highway sign
According to folklore, the above sign was spotted on the Alaskan highway. Or perhaps it was posted along the highways in the 20’s and 30’s, before blacktop became prevalent. Regardless of the source, it has served as an apt metaphor many times in my life.
Each day we are faced with thousands of decisions: what to have for breakfast, what to wear, when to work out, how much time to spend surfing my RSS feeds. Most decisions have very short-term implications and can be corrected if errant.
Occasionally decisions arise that have much longer-term implications: whether or not to take that new job, move to that new city, attend a certain college or purchase a particular car. In these cases, deliberation pays dividends. When I find myself facing such decisions I classify them with the “Choose your rut carefully” label. It may not be the most glamorous metaphor but it helps me take the time I need to make solid decisions.