Taking a unique route can be inspiring.
“See any detour as an opportunity to experience new things.”
– H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Have you ever taken a detour?
Some detours are unavoidable. Road construction or a fender-bender can suddenly close roads or exits forcing you to find a new route to your destination. However, road closures are not the only detours in life.
It may be for you that your biggest detour was when you were diagnosed with a chronic or mental illness. Or, it might be your detour was when a relationship ended or a job came to a conclusion. You may have even felt like your road not only detoured but stopped entirely.
As my mother likes to say, “Where there is life, there’s hope.”
So, how do you learn to go on after an unexpected detour? Today we’ll look at three valuable aspects to these unexpected journeys.
Learn a Lesson From Creativity
Creating art or writing blog content is a great way to express yourself. At times, though, the creative juices just don’t seem to flow. Writers refer to it as, “writer’s block,” and no doubt the mental hurdle is just as tough if you’re painting pictures or molding clay or anything else.
Some years ago, I was battling writer’s block. In my search for solutions to get my creativity flowing again, I stumbled upon an article that offered a unique approach.
Most of us tend to be creatures of habit. We travel the same routes, eat the same things, and wear the same clothes. We love to stick to routines and habits.
With that in mind, the article encouraged readers to change things up. Take a different avenue to work. Try a type of food or dish you’ve never had before. Buy a clothing article that is outside of your everyday style choices.
Or, in other words, take a detour.
The article went on to talk about how by changing our habits we can also change our thinking patterns. New thoughts, new stimulation, can lead to increased creativity.
Download Your Copy
Discover the Value of Detours
Detours do three great things for us.
- Force us to pay closer attention
- Allow us to see new things
- Offer different choices
Let’s take the first one. It’s all too easy to zone out while driving to or from work. You probably know the route well as you drive or walk it every day. There’s not a lot of thinking involved other than normal travel considerations.
Then you see that big orange sign. It may point you to a part of town you seldom visit or onto a road you’ve never traveled before.
Suddenly, you are forced to pay attention to where you are going, how you are driving, and what is happening around you.
See a Whole New World
The second value you can get from a detour is the chance to see and discover new things.
Personally, literal detours have caused me to discover parks, restaurants, and the coolest of little stores because I was traveling on a road I never took before.
Detours in life can do the same thing. Perhaps you never imagined living a life with chronic illness. You were sure that your relationship or job would never end. But then it happened.
Consider My Work Detour
In January of 2018, I left an 18-year career in the insurance industry. Up until a short time before that, I imagined that I would keep the job I had until retirement.
Things got ugly quickly. My boss was revealed to be someone I did not want to be publicly associated with, and I turned in my notice.
I live in a small community, so insurance jobs are not easy to come by. My unexpected path forced me to make new choices, the third value of a detour.
Writing had long been my passion, though I had never really pursued it. I had some savings and decided it was the perfect time to try new things.
Expect That There Will Be Bumps
Driving detours often take us on roads that are narrower or in poorer repair than the ones we are used to traveling on. The roads may be bumpy, filled with potholes, or not even paved.
My experience was definitely one of these bumpy roads. After eight months, it became painfully clear that my writing career was not going to take off at the speed I had hoped. My new choice was to find a career in a different field in my town or to travel an hour each way to the closest city.
Hence, a new job in bookkeeping and tax preparation was started.
Does that mean that the detour led to failure? It all depends on how you look at it.
Appreciate the Lessons
During my time pursuing writing, I was able to find some work for a company that connects freelance writers with blogs wanting content. While the pay was rather low, those writing assignments helped me sharpen my writing skills and learn how to write blog content.
In addition, my new route opened up the chance for me to meet people that I would not have otherwise met. Included in that number is an ever-growing list of bloggers that are tremendously encouraging and have a wealth of useful wisdom.
Truth be told, I guess I could say that meeting new people is the fourth gift my detour has given me. It’s all in how I choose to look at it.
Do the Work
What’s your experience?
This week, your assignment is to take a few minutes to think about the detours you have gone on in your life. Maybe you are in the process of navigating one right now.
As you do, think about the following questions:
- How has my detour helped me to have better focus in my life?
- What new things have I seen as a result?
- Which new choices have opened up to me?
- Who have I met that I wouldn’t know if it weren’t for the change in direction?
Really ponder on those gifts over the next few days.
You may even choose to purposely take a new detour. Try a new experience, eat something different, or reach out to meet someone you don’t already know.
Yes, it’s true, detours are often not welcome or expected, but that doesn’t mean they have to be all bad. Learn to appreciate the new experiences and opportunities that each event brought into your life.
Until next time, keep fighting.