“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
‘I don’t much care where -‘ said Alice.
‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.
‘- so long as I get SOMEWHERE,’ Alice added as an explanation.
‘Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, ‘if you only walk long enough.”
If you are as big of a Disney fan and/or bookworm as I am, you’ll recognize this excerpt from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. This is a story that I read many years ago and many times since, although it has not been until recently that this quote began to have significant importance to me.
In life, there are various points where you begin to question yourself, your career and your goals. You wonder where you should go. Many times we, like Alice, find ourselves wandering around in a Wonderland where our expectations and presumptions are continuously being tested and compromised; usually for good, but at times with more negative consequences than positive.
It’s in our human nature to feel the desire to succeed. No one wants to work hard and feel like they have gotten nowhere, they just want a simple answer to “which way [they] ought to go from here.” And well, there is no simple answer to that. Many of us walk and walk and walk yet feel we aren’t getting where we want. However, in reality, all we knew is we wanted to be somewhere, we just didn’t give enough thought as to where.
So you need to determine, what does success mean to you? Where do you want to go? What do you want to become? To one person, reaching a long-term goal could be the definition of success. For another, it may be how much money is in their bank account or how many cars they have parked in your garage.
There have been so many times where I’ve sat and worried that I am not where I am supposed to be. But, when people asked me where I wanted to be, my answer tended to be “somewhere”… Like Alice, I didn’t have a direction. I disregarded my daily successes and focused too much on the overall picture that I wanted to fulfill. At this point in my life, that path is too big to travel; it was kind of like hiking Mount Everest after training only on Mount Monadnock.
So I changed my path to a more manageable one. Every day I aim to get a bit farther than I was the day before, even if that means I need to fall down the rabbit hole. To journey is to be human, we are always coming from somewhere and heading somewhere else. Every great adventure begins with a small step. Wandering does not mean you’re lost; sometimes you just need to see many things before you know just where you ought to go.