This summer Team Rowlands were walking in the Lake District. As we neared the summit of Green Gable we met a group. Despite their enthusiastic embrace of the views in front of them it soon became apparent they were a long way from where they wanted to be.
The peak they had been aiming for was not the tweeting mass of Great Gable nor the more immediate summit of Green Gable. Scafell Pike was a very long walk from where they were now.
It turned out they made a mistake right at the start of their walk and, lacking both a map and the skills to read it, had deviated from their original target with their cars still in view.
Their leader on this day lacked the basic equipment to guide his group safely to the summit of the peak he has sold them as their destination. Despite his determination to reach that goal he was prepared to throw caution to the wind.
On this occasion (having cross checked Mountain Rescue reports) they were lucky and hopefully left with further desire to explore the hills albeit with some basic tools and skills for a safer trip next time.
Hopefully they have learned not to be lead blindly by a person they thought would lead them to their chosen goal.
So they didn’t reach the summit they wanted to reach. Looking at them that wasn’t so much of a problem on this occasion. The cloud base was lower than expected and the weather was due to change for the worse later in the afternoon. They looked amazed by the views they now had in front of them (as shown above).
This journey was an achievement full of discovery as much as it was reaching the summit of a particular peak.
They learnt from their mistake. Next time, they will hopefully take a map. Before that they can learn some basic skills to read the map and help them navigate.
When taking their next journey they can be in control as a result of that preparation. Who knows what they might discover.
What does this story teach us about finding answers through research?
First, don’t put blind faith in someone who promises to find the answers.
Second, learn some basic skills so that you can question that outsourced help when you feel they aren’t taking you where you want to be.
Third, the journey is as important as the destination. You learn as much from finding the information as you do from the information itself. And if the destination isn’t reached, sometimes the view the journey provides will be as useful if not more so than you’re initial goal had seemed.
As for “the wrong answer” it helps to remind ourselves that many of the worlds most important discoveries have been the result of mistakes and deviation - from penicillin and the x-ray to velcro and teflon. The desired end point might never produce the amazing insight you thought you were seeking but you never know what you might find along the way.
Asking for help should never be overlooked. But to get the best value from that help it pays to be equipped with some basic skills so can stay in control of where you get to and what you have your eyes opened to along the way.
Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.
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