1.02 Managing Clarity: The Destination

1.01.1 Managing Clarity: The Destination

Principle: Arrive at a destination by making sure that every step is in that direction.


“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“—so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.” [1]

A traveler in ancient Greece, the story goes, met an old man walking along the road and asked him how to get to Mount Olympus. The old man, who turned out to be Socrates, replied: “Just make sure that every step you take is in that direction.” [2]

Matthew 7:13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.


It’s late at night. As you drive through the dark the way just ahead of you is brightly lit by your headlights. During the day you can see at a great distance but at night just a little bit in front of you. If you can see clearly that is sufficient. You know your destination; you know the road to your destination.

Clarity about your destination allows you to make wise choices about the journey. Some routes are better than others; some offer benefits which allow us to enjoy the journey, such as a detour to a favorite restaurant for lunch. But the first question is always the first priority: will this road bring us to our destination, reliably, safely and within parameters?

The value of a trusted road is that we can relax our focus on the destination in order to focus on what is happening right here and right now. If we faithfully follow the road, it will faithfully bring us to our destination. That’s what roads do. A road can also be a recipe, an algorithm, a process.

The clarity of our destination also allows us to improve the quality of the road we choose by testing each step against the goal of reaching our destination reliably, safely and within desired parameters or specifications (on time, comfortably, etc.). It helps us make choices between options, and there are always options.

Jesus pointed out that the best road is sometimes steep and difficult, but worth it. It’s almost a certainty that the crowd who chooses a path based on convenience and comfort is always wrong. Carefully choose your path.

QUESTIONS for thinking it through:

  1. Is my goal or destination clear, and is it in writing?
  2. Am I meeting the real need? [3]
  3. Am I informing myself of options?
  4. What are my requirements with regard to reliability? Is a benefit worth the risk?
  5. What are my requirements with regard to safety? Is there danger, and am I prepared for it?
  6. What are my requirements with regard to parameters and specifications? What is necessary and what would be fun? What comforts do I need? What conditions will I not allow? What is on time?

[1] An exchange between Alice and the Cheshire Cat in Chapter 6 of Lewis Carroll‘s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland quoted in https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Any_Road

 [2] From http://www.inspirationpeak.com/cgi-bin/search.cgi?search=travel&page=1
[3] Question #2 and #3 are from Spencer Johnson’s short book on decision making, “YES” OR “NO” — THE GUIDE TO BETTER DECISIONS — A STORY (HarperCollins Publishers, 1991). There are six questions in two pairs to evaluate a decision. The Head question is Am I meeting the real need, informing myself of options, and thinking it through? The Heart question is: does my decision show I am honest with myself, trust my intuition, and deserve better?

This is an anchor post; its purpose is to begin a conversation, supported by other quotes and resources.

Any Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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