The Long Way Around: The Joys of Detours and Discoveries
When was the last time you took the long way around? How did it make you feel?
For me, when I’m walking somewhere, it's usually a mix of anxiety and frantic re-checking of Google Maps to find a shorter route. There are also times when I instead slow down and take in the scenery, discovering new scenes in the city I thought I knew so well. Of course, most of the time, all I'm left with is the memory of sore feet.
It's natural for us to seek out the easiest and most efficient path, whether it's traveling to a new destination or tackling a work project. However, life's beauty lies in its unpredictability and variables. We never know when our usual route may be disrupted or when our go-to AI tool may crash due to high traffic.
Let's take a little time to explore the advantages of taking the long way.
See detours as opportunities
Let's start with “literally” taking a long way around, such as taking the wrong line on the subway, missing our bus stop, or just getting lost.
Before we start beating ourselves up over our mistakes, let's take a deep breath and reframe it as an opportunity to increase our physical activity for the day. By taking an extra 1,000 steps, we can boost our daily step count, increase our walking time and distance, and feel good about making a healthier choice. Who knows, we might even find that taking the scenic route can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
Let’s take this idea of rewards a step further and think of this extra distance like playing a role-playing game. If we choose to take the longer route more often, we can improve our health points (HP) and constitution (CON). By walking regularly, your character (you!) can increase both with lower blood pressure, lower risk of heart disease and stroke, improved circulation, and better overall cardiovascular health. It's also a fantastic way to burn calories and maintain a healthy weight so you can be ready for any battle you face!
Find inspiration in new paths
The advantages don't stop there. Walking can also boost your intelligence!
Did you know that taking a long way around can boost your creativity by 60%? According to a study conducted by behavioral scientists Oppezzo and Schwartz at Stanford University, walking can help us generate more diverse and creative solutions to problems. This has certainly been true in my own life. Sometimes, taking a detour leads to unexpected insights and new ideas.
Try this the next time you find yourself presented with a choice between the shorter, more familiar route and the scenic, longer path: choose the latter. Not only can it improve your physical health, but it can also benefit your mental agility and creativity. It's a chance to let your mind wander and explore new possibilities.
Uncover surprises and reexamine perspectives
I'd like to share a little story with you about a friend’s experience:
💡 The family prepared thoroughly for a rare trip abroad, including a well-planned strategy for the best route through Universal Studios in Osaka. However, upon arrival, they accidentally took a wrong turn with the map, leading them on a longer route. The parents were disappointed about scrapping their meticulous schedule for the day, but the child thought the experience was exciting and unique, pointing out: "We went a different way than everybody else! We're so cool!"
We sure can learn a lot from children, with their fresh outlooks on life, free from the pressures adults are preoccupied with. Life is a journey full of choices, but as adults with life experience, it's natural to feel hesitant about taking risks. We often opt for the safe route, sticking to paths and routines that seem familiar or efficient. But by always choosing the seemingly obvious direction, we risk missing out on the excitement and adventure that life has to offer.
That's where taking the longer route comes in. It may seem like an unwanted detour, but in reality, it can lead to unexpected surprises and new discoveries. Whether it's stumbling upon a quaint little shop or meeting someone who becomes a lifelong friend, the possibilities are endless.
Put It Into Practice: Choose the longer path
Imagine your future self traveling from far away, tapping you on the shoulder, and saying, "Thank you for taking this longer route. It led me to experiences I'll never forget.”
We all have different reasons for taking the longer route. Maybe it's to avoid the hustle and bustle of crowds or to savor the beauty of the scenery. Perhaps we're seeking inspiration or a fresh perspective on life. When we take the longer route, we're inviting adventure and possibility into our lives. It may not always be easy, but it's an opportunity to bring a spark of inspiration or a change in mindset, and also bring us more joy and fulfillment.
So, the next time you find yourself taking a longer route, take a deep breath and ask yourself, "What's down this longer path?" Embrace the detour and see where it takes you. You might just be surprised at how much it can enhance your life.