A Journey to Assumption

Seth Godin reminded us of the importance of understanding.  He exposed our fundamental desire to rely on assumptions.  Our need to establish certainty overrides exploration of the unknown.

If we have never been to Paris, do we assume we have seen the City of Lights once we land at Charles de Gualle Airport?  Can we check Paris off our travel bucket list after a stroll down the Champs Elysees?  Is a day in the Louvre Museum sufficient?  A meal at a cafe?  Batobus ride on the Seine? Visit to the La Tour Eiffel?  

The answer is unique to each of us.  We have our own parameters.  A visitor with a single day in Paris may feel equally certain about their view as an expat who has lived on the Left Bank for months.  Understanding comes in connecting our points of reference to build a more detailed narrative.  Assumptions are easy.  Adventures provide pathway to test our assumptions.

New Plan, Same Destination

“A compass, I learnt when I was surveying, it’ll…it’ll point you True North from where you’re standing, but it’s got no advice about the swamps and deserts and chasms that you’ll encounter along the way. If in pursuit of your destination you plunge ahead, heedless of obstacles, and achieve nothing more than to sink in a swamp, what’s the use of knowing True North?”            

Abraham Lincoln Movie

After an high cadence evening exploring canals and bridges in Venice, I returned to the Venezia Santa Lucia train station for the homeward portion of my ticket to Castelfranco, the town from which I had launched a late afternoon expedition.  I walked to the track assigned on the destination board.  No train appeared.  I rechecked the departure listings and cross-referenced a paper schedule.  No worries, another train was slated to depart an hour later if I missed this one.  I began to feel uneasy.  The only trains in the station were clearly equipped for overnight transit and local departures seemed absent from the side tracks.  I triple confirmed the train scheduled but upon this examination I decoded my error, I had been reading the arrivals information.  The last train of the night destine for the Veneto left an hour ago.  I regrouped.  Seeing buses queued up at the transportation center I inquired about bus transit to Castelfranco.  No buses departed for the town.  My next available option was to inquiry at a local hotel but without my passport I was uneasy that a hotel would provide a room without appropriate documents (a prerequisite in Italy).  The last reasonable option (outside of swimming) was to inquire about a taxi.  None were immediately found at the taxi line however one eventually appeared.  The driver and I spoke and the initial estimate was far higher than I desired but without traffic there would be no delay and possible efficiencies to gain.  I determined this choice was most certain to deliver me to my hotel.  So we crossed the causeway back onto the mainland and arrived at the hotel around midnight.  More euros invested than anticipated but the afternoon had the hallmarks of adventure.  I reached my intended destination but taken a deviation from the anticipated route.  

Affixing our sights on a destination sets the compass.  Allowing flexibility to select a route is the art of navigating when the path is not certain and the destination is known but no longer visible.


Somedays the weather does not cooperate and the itinerary appears lost.  You may choose to move forward as planned in anticipation of adventure.  The moment expectations and preconceived ideas are abandoned we encounter the serendipity of inspirational moments.  Life unfolds around every corner and each meter forward is an achievement, building an always expanding definition of success.  When we obsess the summit we miss the endless transformations that take place on the way towards the top.  Remarkable is not what we achieve but instead how we journey forward.

Monte Grappa, Italia

Builder vs Evaluator

Builders take far more pride and assign a greater value to that which they create than an individual assigned to just evaluate.  Evaluators place a lower value and feel less connected to the product they are reviewing.  It is their job to see the flaws as negatives instead of reminders of a journey worth travelling.  If you are looking to engage individuals with your purpose, you must consider ways to include them as builders otherwise they will value your work at its lowest common denominator.  They will look for like things and assume they are of the same value.  We hold onto and treasure those things that give us the greatest difficulty to achieve, even when the finished result is not a refined and polished as the professionally manufactured version.  It is the meaning we place on the adventure to reach the destination that makes all the difference.  If you teleport yourself to Uluru (Ayers Rock) in the Norther Territory of Australia the sense of awe would be far less remarkable than the current journey which requires extended travel, endurance, and commitment.

We stand in awe of that which we reached with much effort.  We tend to dismiss and diminish that which came to us too easily.

The Five People You Hang Out With

National Park Annual Pass

When you invest in yourself the metric of impact is how it changes the lives of those around you.  

If you could invite only five people to join you on a grand adventure, who would compose your expedition team?  What super power does each member posses?  What does the composition of the team say about you as a person and leader?  What change would you seek?  

Are you already on this trek?  If not, why?