Ways to distinguish yourself – #28 Know where you are

This happened in 1997. Kavitha (my wife) and I had just landed in
Silicon Valley. Before this, we were living in Singapore and things
were very different there. We had to make a lot of changes in our lives
to adapt to the valley. First, we had to get our driving license and
buy a car so that we could move around. It took us about two weeks to
learn to drive here, get a drivers license and buy a car. We moved into
an apartment and thought that we should buy some stuff for the home.
Someone suggested us that we should go to Gilroy (where there are
outlet malls) and buy stuff there. To give you an idea, we were in
Sunnyvale and Gilroy is about 30 miles south of where we lived.

I asked my friend how would I know when I reached Gilroy. He asked me
to take 101 (a freeway) and after about 30 minutes, I should see a
chain of stores from the freeway – basically he told me that it would
be hard to miss.

That weekend, Kavitha and I decided to go to Gilroy. I just realized
that I had not asked my friend whether to take 101 North or 101 South.
We took 101 North. Long story short, we drove for more than an hour
(went past San Francisco) and both of us realized that we must have
missed it. I stopped at a gas station and asked the folks there about
Gilroy. The gentleman was very polite and said “You have to take 101
South and drive for about two hours and we should see Gilroy.” I was
shocked and said “I thought we were supposed to take 101 North” and he
laughed and said “That would be right – if you were coming from Los
Angeles. Unfortunately, now you have to take 101 South”

Even today, we both remember this and laugh at what happened.

It is interesting though, that it’s the same rules that apply in our
lives. Although you may know the destination, you wouldn’t know what
direction to move – unless you know where you are right NOW. Many of us
have trouble assessing where we are in our lives. Sometimes the current
situation is not that great and accepting this may cause some heart
burn. So one choice would be to make a wrong assessment about our
current situation (thinking we are better than what we actually are)
and that would lead to another wrong assessment of what we should to to
get to where we want to get.

With due respect for positive thinking and optimism, I must say that
making a correct assessment of our current situation is very very
important to move ahead!