Number 8

Geez, its barely nine a.m. out here on the west coast and mamacita is already bugging me for number 8. So, without further ado, here is Chuck Yates' number 8. Enjoy.

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Number Eight: Ask for directions. You might as well get used to the idea that you’re gonna get lost now and then — maybe a lot, maybe only a little. How much doesn’t matter. It will happen. And it’s a fact — one I can verify from having done it more times than I can count — that getting lost on purpose and then finding your own way back home is one of the best character building activities there is. It builds confidence too, and a kind of self-knowledge you can’t get any other way.

So don’t be afraid of getting lost.

But it’s also a fact that getting lost and finding the way home can take a lot of time, and we don’t always have the time to spare. So ask for directions. Get one of the locals to tell you how to get where you want to go. There’s no shame in not knowing the way. We were all born not knowing the way, and we’ve all had to figure it out one trip at a time. Remember what I said a minute ago about getting good at being clueless.

No, the shame — the embarrassment — doesn’t come from being lost; it comes from not letting others help us get un-lost. John Donne was right, after all: none of us is an island.(7) We’re all adrift on the same big sea, in the same little boat, and it’s just plain stupid not to help each other paddle.

7. John Donne, Meditation 17, 1624, in The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Fifth Edition, New York: W.W.
Norton, 1962, Vol. 1, 1107.


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