Day 27: Wandering Through Life Without A Map? 6 Ways To Spot The Danger Zones

You wouldn’t take a long trip without knowing where you’re going, would you?

No, of course not. You’d get a map, or a decent GPS for your car. You’d pack the appropriate clothes, you’d have enough money for food and lodging. In other words, you’d prepare.

Yet, many people fail to do even the simplest preparations for their longest journey  – life. They don’t plan, they don’t weigh their options, they simply exist day-to-day, making things up as they go along.

And while there’s something to be said for living in the moment, if you’re not paying attention, you can find yourself alone and lost without any idea how you got where you are.

Unlike roads, there are no signs to help you navigate life. So here’s a few caution signs that you might be on the road to nowhere and some advice on how to find your way back.

1. You’re going too fast. We all know someone who burns through life. They do it all. They want it all. They work hard, they play hard, they party hard. In short, they live hard. But what’s life without a bit of introspection? As Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” If you’re an adrenaline junkie always chasing the next high, you will soon find yourself burned out – numb to new experiences. Unhappy. Take time to appreciate the people in your life. Slow down and actually get something from your experiences. Because even though racing down an open highway in a high performance sports car is all kinds of awesome, sometimes, a nice, leisurely drive through the countryside is more rewarding.

2. You blame others. We all have runs of bad luck from time to time. Some people, more than others. But a lot of times, we make our own luck. While I don’t buy the entire “law of attraction” buzz phrase some self-helpers repeat Ad nauseam, there is some truth to how we help create things which happen to us. Our actions (and inaction) DO have an effect on our lives and can prolong our misery. Only when you take responsibility for your life’s choices, can you identify the wrong turns you’ve taken and figure out how to get back on track.

3. You react instead of act. Do you ever feel like everything you do is simply a reaction to others? If your choices are dictated by other peoples’ desires rather than your own, then you’re not really living your own life. Take charge of your life, it’s the only one you’ll ever get.

4. You’re ignoring all the signs. Life has a way of letting us know when we’re not living up to our potential. Friends and family will act a certain way towards you. Sometimes, people will actually say something. Other times, if we’re really off the rails, people may act drastically to intervene. But all too often, those who need to see the warning signs the most, are most blind to them. Pay attention to subtle clues.

5. You’re driving in the single driver lane. Life isn’t meant to be a solo trip – we all need someone to help us read the map from time to time. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

6. You’re using an outdated map. Perhaps you DID plan things ahead, but somewhere along the line, you realized this isn’t the life you planned. The beautiful thing about life is that it is, for many people, it is what we make of it. Don’t stick to an outdated map just because you feel some obligation to stay the course. If life has changed or new opportunities have presented themselves, by all means, don’t be afraid to chart a new course.

Did we miss any important signs? Want to share your thoughts? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


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David Wright is a professional ghostwriter and cartoonist who blogs about fatherhood at Blogger Dad.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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