September 5, 2012 by Mike Lyles
Anyone who has tried the drive-thru has experienced this truth. Whether it’s a fast food restaurant or any other type of drive-thru window. You want to conserve your time, make your purchase, and move on, however, you find that you sit in a long line at the drive-thru while there are no lines inside.
I have lived by a theory for a long time – and that is the drive-thru is not always faster. When I’m reaching a restaurant with a drive-thru window and a long line of cars waiting to order, as I drive around, I always glance inside the windows to see if there are lines inside. If there are small or no lines waiting inside, I will park my car and walk inside, make my order, and almost always leave before the cars waiting in line make it around the pick up window. If you try this a few times, I am convinced that you, too, will be surprised by this reality, and will begin practicing the same theory yourself.
However, this theory does not only apply to ordering at a restaurant window. It can be passed on to everyday life. How many times have we taken an approach that we felt would be easiest and fastest, only to find that we failed to notice that, in the long run, we took more time to accomplish the task. How many times have we convinced ourselves to ‘stay in the car’ and not exert extra energy to accomplish our goals more effectively and expeditiously?
My challenge to you, reader, is to examine your goal – whether it’s to get food from a restaurant, create a presentation for work, build a new strategy for the company, propose a new idea to your boss, help a friend in need, or simply set out on a new adventure – and thoroughly examine the approaches that you can take to accomplish the goal. Be aware that while your first option seems the fastest and logical, it may carry with it more risk along the way that could delay or slow down your progress. When you realize this, then your other options may rise to the top and be the best choice in your drive for success.
There is nothing more fulfilling to me than walking out of a restaurant with my food in hand and smiling as I see the long line of cars still sitting there waiting – right where I left them when I walked in the restaurant. The same applies to my work life when I realize that an alternative approach I have taken to accomplish a major goal has resulted in positive results much faster than the logical approach that was in front of me.
And remember, just like parking the car and walking into the restaurant, many alternatives to your original approach will cause you to have to exert more energy and drive to accomplish the task, but you will come out a winner in the end!