The other day while listening to a podcast I stumbled across the statement that if you have a deviation of 1° in a flight of 100 kilometers you miss your target by ~1.74 kilometers. As a stand-alone fact, this doesn't sound particularly spectacular at first. But as you can guess, this philosophically oriented blog is not about flying.
I think this allegory can be applied to almost every aspect in our lives. In my last Blog article I talked about how nice it can be to start something new. In this article, however, I want to talk more about why it is important to start. Here I don't just mean new things but also those that we have been putting off for a long time and know that it would be better if we start sooner rather than later.
As with the airplane that arrives ~1.74 kilometers next to its original destination, so it can also happen to us. Of course, arriving not even two kilometers next to its destination does not sound so bad, but in this calculation the distance is not very far and also a deviation of one degree is not very much. But what if our destination is 10,000 kilometers away or we have a deviation of ten degrees? In one fell swoop we have missed our destination by 174 kilometers. And even if the deviation is only small, the destination is often small as well. If we miss the airport by just under a kilometer, a landing is no longer possible and a complex correction loop has to be flown.
It is therefore of the utmost importance to readjust one's course as soon as possible, because the sooner the deviation of the course is corrected, the less worshipful will be the effects on our arrival to the destination.
To step back a bit from the airplane metaphor:
It is easier to stay in shape than to get in shape, the sooner we start something new the quicker we will master it, the sooner we get something done the shorter we torment ourselves with the thoughts of our own inadequacy. As discussed in another article, there are many problems which bring more problems. Tackling problems too late is, as in this article already explained, only one of them.
This simple but powerful metaphor illustrates how small initial deviations from our desired course can have significant effects in our lives, especially when the distance is long and the deviation is large. It reminds us of the importance of not only starting new ventures, but also of addressing the things we put off. Early action and constant adjustment of our course can save us from the consequences of major deviations. Life, like the flight of an airplane, requires continuous navigation and adjustment to safely reach our destination.
Another important aspect highlighted in this context is the satisfaction and self-confidence that comes from completing tasks and goals. Much like the airplane passenger who reached his or her destination without missing a beat, if we tackle tasks in a timely manner, we too can ensure that we reach our desired destination without the uncertainty and stress that comes with unnecessary delays and deviations. The principle of course-correcting and getting things done early is timeless and applies as much today as it did over 2000 years ago when Cicero already emphasized the pleasure of work done. The message is that if we engage early and are consistent in our goals, we will eventually gain the confidence that we have been on the right track, or at least have made the necessary adjustments to achieve our goals.