One of the more interesting challenges of my return to school is getting back into research for papers. I find that as I go through journal articles, publications, books etc. that there are many interesting things to read. Unfortunately, not all of them are related to the research that is supposed to be my focus and being a lateral thinker it is very tempting to go off on these tangents. I have been, more or less and rather more than less, successful at not getting sidetracked by other interesting articles. In life, as in research, it can be easy to get sidetracked from what is important in one’s life and to lose track of where we are in our journey of life.
As we move through life towards our goals and objectives there are many… ooh, that looks … nope, not going to look … Where was I. Oh, yes, there are many things that distract us and take us away from out path. Some of these things are beneficial, others are not. One of the benefits, in my opinion, of being a lateral thinker is that one can explore some of these side avenues and figure out reasonably quickly if they are worth exploring further. One must be careful, however, not to spend too much time pursuing dead ends or things that are detrimental to one’s well being or achieving of long term goals. There may be a short term benefit that has a much higher long term cost, and not just in monetary terms. The costs can be to our friendships, our families and our paid and unpaid work.
All that having been said, it’s also important to make sure that one does allow oneself to be distracted from time to time and to partake in fun and relaxing activities. These activities are important to help replenish energy levels and restore the mind, body and soul to allow us to continue on our paths. When we are rested and refreshed we are more attentive and more productive (something our society places a high value on). Just don’t take too much time away from the journey down the path of life.
As it is written in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven”. For everything there is a time and we must discern these in our own lives. It is not always a time for play, and it is not always time for work.