Weekend Thought Fuel: Embracing Rabbit Holes
Hi there and welcome (back) to TCW! Before starting today’s story, I wanted to quickly loop you in on this new concept: Weekend Thought Fuel. As you relax and de-stress on the weekend, this TCW story seeks to stimulate your creativity, inspire you to pursue your existing goals, or initiate new ones. How is this different from usual, non-weekend posts, you ask? Good question. Weekend posts will be more light-hearted, more open-ended (vs. tactical, e.g., here are the 4 things you could do), and easier to talk about with other people. As always, please gently disconnect socially right now, close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths, and clear your mind of your worries. Okay, let’s get started.
Friend, I’d like to tell you a story today about rabbit holes, but in a way that you’re probably not familiar with. Most people attach a negative connotation to the term “rabbit holes”, especially in a career setting. I know I did, for a long time, without really thinking about or looking into the actual meaning of the saying.
“Jeff, let’s not go down that rabbit hole, yeah? We need to focus on the most important priorities right now.”
“What? Why is she looking into cloud analytics? The original ask was cloud storage vendors. Shoot…”
You’ve heard it before. You don’t want to go down those rabbit holes. And I would agree, to the extent that it’s detrimental to your career. But, there are some rabbit holes that are good for your development, happiness, and overall growth. To understand how and appreciate this truth, let me bring you back to a childhood story for a quick moment.
The term rabbit hole originated from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. Is this guy serious right now? Is he really going to tell me about Alice in Wonderland? Wait! Before you decide this is going to be a waste of your time, I promise it’ll tie into your goals and life. Once fallen through the rabbit hole, one starts a journey with a specific goal in mind, however, gets sidetracked by various unexpected events along the way. Usually, by the end of this particular journey, the original goal has become irrelevant, but other, unexpected discoveries are made. Often, these discoveries are beneficial in nature.
I’ll give you a quick dieting example. Let’s say Jimmy wanted to lose some weight because he isn’t happy with his current physique. So he starts doing research on diet plans, nutrition, macronutrients, calories, basal metabolic rates, and builds a conceptual foundation in his mind about how it all works together. Then, Jimmy begins his diet. He has the willpower and persistence to stick to it, and lo and behold, 3 months later, Jimmy has lost 30 lbs. He’s ecstatic. For the first time in his life, he no longer sees a rounded hump under his shirt. But now, Jimmy wonders if there’s other stuff he could do. He knows eating healthy makes him feel good, but he’d like to be able to do more outdoor activities, and so he looks into workout plans to become more fit. Again, he starts to learn about different muscle groups, exercises, set and rep ranges, and body split cycles. He tries a particular workout program. And voila, 6 months later, he is stronger, more confident, and has refined his workout program many times over to make it more challenging. A good friend of Jimmy’s, Bonnie, sees Jimmy one day for the first time in a while, and notices his changes.
“Holy crap dude! You’ve become fit! Congrats! I’m actually wondering a few things myself about how to lose weight. Mind sharing some tips?” Bonnie asks Jimmy.
So now, not only is Jimmy on a healthy balanced diet and consistently hitting the gym, he’s also beginning to help his friends out, sharing his knowledge and personal experience. Jimmy feels great. He thinks to himself, “I love this. It’s a community, a family. We’re all in this to get better together.” Jimmy eventually starts a fitness page on Facebook to inspire a fitness movement, to build a brand, posting content regularly, and attracts a large following.
Take a step back with me for a moment. Do you notice something? Jimmy is basically Alice in Wonderland. My point is that he originally started a diet for one goal, and over time, what he got and what he began striving for changed. Along the way, his goal evolved to encompass something much greater than himself. He went from being just another Jimmy wanting to lose that stubborn belly fat, to becoming an inspiration to others.
Now, is that story made up? Sure. But is it realistic? 100%. Money back guaranteed. I’ve seen it happen before, even more transformational stories – far more transformational. My point is, you never know where a rabbit hole might lead you. As long as it’s something in your life that’s important to you and you had a vision when you started, keep doing it everyday, no matter how much. To wrap up this story, I’d like to share one of my all-time favorite quotes from an ancient teacher:
“It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius (孔子)