Ways To Distinguish Yourself 28 Know Where You Are

Ways to distinguish yourself – #28 Know where you are

By Rajesh Setty on Sun 29 May 2005, 9:09 AM – 2 Comments

This happened in 1997. Kavitha (my wife) and I had just landed in

Silicon Valley. Before this, we were living in Singapore and things

were very different there. We had to make a lot of changes in our lives

to adapt to the valley. First, we had to get our driving license and

buy a car so that we could move around. It took us about two weeks to

learn to drive here, get a drivers license and buy a car. We moved into

an apartment and thought that we should buy some stuff for the home.

Someone suggested us that we should go to Gilroy (where there are

outlet malls) and buy stuff there. To give you an idea, we were in

Sunnyvale and Gilroy is about 30 miles south of where we lived.

I asked my friend how would I know when I reached Gilroy. He asked me

to take 101 (a freeway) and after about 30 minutes, I should see a

chain of stores from the freeway – basically he told me that it would

be hard to miss.

That weekend, Kavitha and I decided to go to Gilroy. I just realized

that I had not asked my friend whether to take 101 North or 101 South.

We took 101 North. Long story short, we drove for more than an hour

(went past San Francisco) and both of us realized that we must have

missed it. I stopped at a gas station and asked the folks there about

Gilroy. The gentleman was very polite and said “You have to take 101

South and drive for about two hours and we should see Gilroy.” I was

shocked and said “I thought we were supposed to take 101 North” and he

laughed and said “That would be right – if you were coming from Los

Angeles. Unfortunately, now you have to take 101 South”

Even today, we both remember this and laugh at what happened.

It is interesting though, that it’s the same rules that apply in our

lives. Although you may know the destination, you wouldn’t know what

direction to move – unless you know where you are right NOW. Many of us

have trouble assessing where we are in our lives. Sometimes the current

situation is not that great and accepting this may cause some heart

burn. So one choice would be to make a wrong assessment about our

current situation (thinking we are better than what we actually are)

and that would lead to another wrong assessment of what we should to to

get to where we want to get.

With due respect for positive thinking and optimism, I must say that

making a correct assessment of our current situation is very very

important to move ahead!


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2 Comments so far, Add Yours

Anonymous  on June 1st, 2005


I think there is a blur between your errant reading of the directions, and your conclusion to figuring out where one needs to be to go forward. Your incident is absolutely human: erring. What you allude to is not directly connected with what you experienced. You knew both where you were, and where you wanted to go. You didn’t read the way ahead properly :)


Anonymous  on June 1st, 2005

Thanks Karthik. What you say would be true if this was the case where I did not read the directions or got lost. Unfortunately (it seems VERY odd now) eight years ago, it was case where I assumed that we were south of where we wanted to go and hence the confusion started. Of course, the story is a means to an end is used only to make a point. Since you brought this up, let me extend the analogy – if the vehicle was equipped with a GPS (global positioning system) device, it would appear that the problem would be solved (with a GPS device, you would constantly know where you are and the system tracks where you are in relation to where you want to go. So, in real life, we really need something of a GPS device that will constantly remind us where we are in relation to where we want to go and we can make an assessment of the direction to take or the course corrections we need to make.

This would work if the terrain was not changing from the time we plan to the time we reach our goal. A better analogy I think would be that of a guided missile (let’s say locked in to a rogue plane.) A guided missile knows where it is in relation to where it wants to go but where it wants to go is changing its position in real time. The missile needs to adapt and change course constantly to reach its final destination.

You and I know that stories help make up a point. May be I get carried away too far with these stories ;)

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