Lost in the Woods?

If you are lost in the woods, what do you do?   Your GPS is not working, your cell phone is out of range, and you did not bring a map.  In fact, you’ve just been wandering around smelling the flowers and having fun.  You thought you had walked down a trail that you came up earlier in the day, but now everything looks different.  The trees don’t seem to be the same trees…. Even the rocks don’t look like the same rocks you saw that morning.  Aye yiy yiy!  One path leads downhill in front of you, into some dark woods, and it splits into two.  And the path you came from, goes back up the hill, onto a rocky, windswept hillside.

You gather information.  Instinctively, you look up at the mountains or trees for a landmark, you look back on the trail from where you came, you search the area for clues as to where you are.  You know that the path you take could mean life or death, so you take your time and try to make the right decision.  Wisely, you walk down the path in front of you to get a better look. And you see that it looks like the path continues through the woods.  Then, you retrace your steps back up the hill, to see if you missed a turn. Finally, you lay out your options and take the time to make a decision…..

The best decision requires information and a process.  Do not make this life or death decision based on your intestinal feelings.  Though it’s easier, do not go by instinct.  Use the side of your brain that evolved to give you logic.

Now, let’s say you are back in the urban wilderness known as civilization, and you feel lost.  You do not know what to do with your life,  where to live, what college to go to.  The old landmarks your parents gave you are gone.  Remember, you have time.   Take a deep breath, or two or a hundred deep breaths, and follow a formal decision process.  Over time, you’ll make better decisions, one after another, after another, and you’ll get out of the wilderness.




Author: Mark O'Neill

Army Officer, Writer, Montanan, Product Manager 10 years active duty experience in the Army, switched over the Army Reserve. Information Operations and Intelligence Officer. Veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. Deployed to Korea and Honduras as well.

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