Get Lost – A Path to New Adventures

Next time someone tells you to “get lost” they may be doing you a favor.

I know, I know!

I hate it when I am going somewhere and I get lost. Especially when my new GPS toy takes me places I don’t want to go. The dog park turns out to be a vacant lot, the highly touted restaurant is a dive, and the freeway goes nowhere.

But this posting is about the advantages of being lost. It can be the adventure of your lifetime despite the accompanying feelings of being disoriented and discontented.

Consider some typical “lost” experiences when you are

Learning a new language and feel like a 3 year old when trying to have a substantive conversation with a native – You feel stupid but, the upside, you slowly learn a new language

A baby boomer trying to unscramble what a twelve year old knows automatically about a computer – You feel embarrassed but, the upside, you learn invaluable computer skills

A newly appointed executive and know next to nothing about some of the functional units you manage. You feel ignorant but, the upside, you expand your leadership skills.

All these predicaments have one thing in common. You are lost and left with negative feelings. But if you view the experience in a different way it can be the beginning of a great life adventure.

A Different Lens

 Consider how getting lost

1. Creates new perspectives. There is nothing like seeing your world with a fresh set of eyes when you go off track. Try driving home a different route each day and see how it gives you a new perspective on your neighborhood. Attempt living in a new culture and see how it changes your perspective on life. There is a whole new world out there when we travel the back roads of life.

2. Breeds humility. At times we get “uppity” about how good we are at what we do. Then in a flash everything can change. A person I knew was brilliant at all things physical. You name the sport and he performed them with skill.  Then he joined us at a dance class where he felt like a complete klutz. After about 30 minutes of trying unfamiliar dance steps and seemingly tripping over his own feet he stormed out of the class in a complete snit. He was not willing to experience the normal learning curve. Nor was he willing to experience tripping over his own feet as his teacher.   

3. Stimulates innovation. Remember a time when you were facing a particularly thorny problem. You felt as though you were beating your brains out but no solutions appeared on the horizon.  So you said to yourself “It’s time to take a break to go fishing, play golf, or take an art class.” You consciously admitted you were in a mental cul de sac, took a break, and something wonderful happened. While you were otherwise engaged the problem literally solved itself. When we admit that we are at the end of our rope we open ourselves to a part of our mind that facilitates new and wonderful things. The solution literally pops into our mind..

So consider the possibility of getting lost intentionally by trying to

 1.    Take a “do nothing” day. No schedule, no plans. and then be open to the power of the moment and see what life brings your way.

2.    Ask yourself “How can this lost experience possibly be a blessing? What new skills/lessons can it teach me?

3.    Reflect on the times when life has thrown you curved balls and you hit them out of the park.

4.    Listen to your night dreams (which you cannot choreograph and control) and decipher what they are telling you to do.

 So go ahead, get lost and start a completely new adventure in your life.




About cedricj

I am a licensed psychologist and management consultant and have always been intrigued by how leaders can inspire people in their organizations. The bottom line is that people are not always motivated by material rewards, the use of the carrot or the stick, fear and intimidation,and command and control, Five human needs inspire and drive us. Kristine S MacKain, Ph.D and myself describe these inspirational forces in our book "What Inspirational Leaders Do" (Kindle 2008)
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