Heading in the general direction of where you want to go is overrated…and overdone.
Let me tell you why. (I’ll use mountain climbing as an analogy here, but then I’ll get personal and step on your toes a bit.)
When I last climbed Mt. Rainier, it pushed every limitation I have to the max. Regularly, I would look up to the summit of the mountain for motivation. I knew that was where I wanted to end up.
Only 4 paths, each with a very different level of difficulty, could get me to the top. Hundreds of paths, heading in the general direction of the peak, would lead me to dead ends, cliffs, avalanche prone glaciers, and a high risk of death.
Some paths you climb up would be impossibly difficult to climb down. These paths used to work in the past but just didn’t work anymore.
I only knew that because I had an experienced guide team telling me exactly what to do.
Heading in the general direction of the summit was not good enough. Being even slightly off course (10% off to the left or right) on Mt. Rainier (or any large mountain for that matter) could lead us, over time, so far off that we could be stranded and die.
The thing is being 10% off course, at first, doesn’t seem off course at all. You can still see your goal, you can still see familiar terrain, it feels right. But done for any extended period of time, being slightly off course can make you so far off course that the skill it takes to get you back is far greater than you could ever imagine.
On Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, if you get slightly off course, even if you are healthy, rescue teams will often leave you there to die.
It’s just too dangerous and risky.
Most of us are not heading in the opposite direction of our purpose and life goals, and because we are heading in the general direction of them, we are lulled into thinking that we will one day get there, but this just isn’t the case.