What Use is Knowing True North?

A compass, I learned when I was surveying, it’ll… it’ll point you true north from where you’re standing, but it’s got no advice about the swamps, deserts and chasms that you’ll encounter along the way. If in pursuit of your destination, you plunge ahead heedless of obstacles, and achieve nothing more than to sink in a swamp… what’s the use of knowing true north?

Lincoln. Dir. Steven Spielberg. DreamWorks. 2012. Film.

Many of us want progress. However, the fact is that there are also many of us who do not want progress in the way that we desire. Progress means change, and there will always be resistance to change.

We want to go true north and know that this is the where we need to be. If we succumb to haste, then we may find ourselves falling into a chasm as the line from Lincoln suggests. Laying a path takes conviction, patience, tenacity, and compromise. Although your goal may be just 100 miles true north, the path to get there will inevitably be much longer. There may be points along the path in which you have to move away from your goal for a while.

It can be frustrating not going in the direction we want to be going. It is better to work together and forge a good path than to be stubborn, and head straight north only to sink in a swamp.

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