The other day, I was driving along a beautifully sun-drenched road, with the beach on my right and the ubiquitous seaside B&Bs on my left. Suddenly, there appeared to be a lot of traffic up ahead and it did not look like one of those “Merge in Turn” scenarios I’ve described before. In fact, pretty soon, I was able to spot the culprit…a street sweeper travelling at an offensively slow speed! I made a quick decision to turn left and head north, in the hope that by the time I worked my way back round and onto the coast road, I might be able to nip in front of the walking-pace, council-run vehicle, and be on my way.


My plan didn’t go well initially. I found myself waiting at a set of traffic lights, needing to turn right, with no filter light but at least I was at the front of the queue. A large lorry turned left in front of me and so I was then driving pretty slowly behind a couple of cars who were immediately behind the lorry. We arrived at the crucial junction, facing the beach again, and all the cars in front, thankfully, indicating left. The traffic on the coast road was not looking too bad but it was far from certain if I had achieved my objective.

I’m not embarrassed to report that when I arrived at the T-junction to rejoin the coast road, I looked right and when I saw the street sweeper a good few hundred yards away, leading the deathly slow procession of by now, extremely frustrated drivers I’m sure, I let out a massive “Yes!” And then, if I’m honest, this was followed by another “Yes!” and perhaps even one or two more after that! I love it when a plan comes to pass.

So what was it about this tiny road-trip-triumph that meant so much? Well apart from anything else, I instantly realised it gave me a good little story to share and hopefully, a small life lesson to apply here and there.

Sometimes, we all need to take what you might call a “Long Cut” as opposed to the more conventional and highly favoured “Short Cut”. A Long Cut might be that opportunity to take a diversion, seemingly off track even at times; only to see yourself land right back on course sooner or later and moreover, further along the original route than you would have been, had you stayed where you were, simply because that was what everyone else was doing.

The problem is of course, we only ever choose the Long Cut if there appears to be no other alternative. I wonder what would happen to some of us if instead of waiting for the street sweeper to take care of everyone else’s mess, we simply took a risk, got off the safe, predictable road and carved out a different route, confident that when we returned, we will be much better off?

What do you think?



Paul Hatcher

I am at heart, a communicator. I love to use words, whether written or spoken and maximise those words to hopefully, bring some encouragement - literally, to put courage into the hearts & minds of those who read or hear them. In my work as an executive coach, speaker, workshop facilitator, I love also to listen...deeply, and then respond with some encouragement.


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