Cutting Corners

Life is so busy at the minute, I’ve been tempted to cut several corners. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I want to cram into it. Something always has to give, which I’m loathe to do as everything seems a priority at present. It would be so easy to take a few short cuts on my way from A to an increasingly far away B. I mean, would anyone even notice if I took a teensy weensy deviation or two?

In my early running career, I ran a trail 10K over a winding forested route. I knew I was running well, but amazed when I neared the finish line to see the digital clock displaying I had slashed three minutes off my previous personal best. I was delighted….until I checked my Garmin which showed my distance as several hundred metres short of 10K. I was gutted and most annoyed with the organisers who had robbed me of my moment of glory.

I was on the verge of firing off a strongly worded e-mail when I checked the small print of the race instructions. Here, I was rather smugly informed that race distance could not be guaranteed due to the hilly topography of the area. I was left with a conundrum. Did I claim a PB (it was a 10K race after all) or just scratch a line through the event, and put it down to experience. In the end, I chose the latter.

It just didn’t feel right to claim the accolades when I hadn’t run the full distance. I had cut corners, albeit not knowingly. The race organisers were at fault, but it still felt disingenuous of me to crow about my time. I hadn’t run 10,000 metres and wasn’t comfortable claiming I had. This weird, heavy sensation settled on my chest. I think it’s called guilt, but could be mistaken.

The same applies to my work and other commitments this week. I could turn a blind eye here, and overlook dotting that ‘I’ or crossing that ‘t’. But it wouldn’t sit easily with me. I would be putting quantity ahead of quality and undoing the high standards I previously have applied to the various projects I’m working towards. Life is about the long haul, taking the rough with the smooth and battling through whatever obstacles confront you.

Short cuts lead to danger. Less traveled paths are poorly lit and full of traps and pitfalls waiting to trip up the unsuspecting hiker. There are bears, wolves and all sorts of beasties waiting to pounce. Best keeping to the wide, well lit avenues you are supposed to be on. So I’ll keep plodding along. It might not be the most exciting journey in the world but at least I know I’m on the right track. Plus you can be guaranteed one thing. You never know what is around the next corner.

Are you tempted to cut corners?

What path are you on today?

Is it the right one?

36 thoughts on “Cutting Corners

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  1. Instead of cutting corners, I procrastinate. OR I work at finding a more efficient way to do something, which could appear to be cutting corners, but it is actually working smarter! Good for you to keep plodding along.

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  2. This reminds me of when I played “Civilizations II” as a younger person. You could turn Cheats on, then select to destroy a whole civilization or advance a technology or whatnot.
    Every time I got frustrated with the NPC enough to try the cheat, I immediately felt an empty self-recrimination. There was absolutely no joy in victory nor pleasure in playing any more.

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  3. Cutting corners with my family, church students, and writing never ends well. Cutting corners with housekeeping and other tedious things is good to do once and a while, though I feel guilty about it…leaves more time for what really matters, though.

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  4. You have integrity – which is a wonderful thing to have. I cut corners sometimes – when the end result will not suffer, like changing a recipe from 1 cup of sugar to half that…at other times I am like you in that I cannot live with myself unless I go the full 9 yards (to use a football analogy). There are consequences, always – plus the guilt that would eat me alive.

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  5. The scope of my job changed earlier this year; it got much smaller, but my salary stayed the same. I found myself looking for things to do to avoid the guilt of not earning my keep. At least that was my perception of this new situation. It took a while but now I realize I have more time to do very good work with less distraction. Quality is always better than quantity in work and life. Keep plodding along, there’s nothing wrong with maintaining high standards.

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  6. I usually can’t cut corners – too much of a perfectionist, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. Sometimes cutting a corner is the right thing to do when the value at stake is poor and not really worth much. I’m good at procrastinating, especially over my writing! I’m currently allowing myself to cut a few corners to get my present book finished – if I don’t, it will go on forever! But seeing the finishing line now…so that’s something

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  7. Too harsh on yourself! You’ve made the entire run and it is weighing everything on the particular fact that it was not the same amount of km, be happy that you made this one and congrats!!

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