All too often we run on autopilot, often repeating the tried and tested. Just going through the motions. In the same way that a river can only follow the path it’s carved out of the landscape, our neural pathways can become equally entrenched. Automatic. Passive.
Pondering where to go one morning, I realised that I was limiting my options to a few tried and tested routes. Why do we do this? Is it an evolutionary hang up – stick with what’s known, and safe, to minimise risk?
I’ve been reading Seth Godin’s latest book and there’s some great stuff in there about the need to push ourselves out of our comfort zones, so that’s a big theme for me at the moment.
So with a sense of adventure and the blue sky beckoning, I headed out with no particular route in mind, other than to discover some new sights and challenges.
I wonder what’s down there?
Have you travelled each and every byway? Or are you a creature of habit?
How many times do you pass junctions or side roads that you’ve never been down?
Up in the hills all around my town there are lattice-like networks of minor roads. Most are in great condition and they’re all fairly traffic free. Yet, most people stick to fairly predictable routes. You can get a feel for your own position on the virtual “discovery spectrum” by using a tool like the multiple ride mapper. If you use Strava, this is very quick and easy to do with the Multiple ride mapper.
Try it out, and zoom in to see how many roads you’ve never been down.
Off I went, in search of new ground, and as I sped along those virgin lanes, I rediscovered something of the basic joys of cycling. New sights, new sounds, new smells; the childlike wonder of cresting a hill to reveal a new and beautiful valley. To catch yourself in that awakening of awe, of being “in the moment” and joyous at the sheer improbability of your own physical existence.
What are you waiting for?
Go on, surprise yourself.