The 1º Difference
You might think out of the 360° in a circle being off by only 1° is not a big difference and for a very short distance, that may be true. Let’s look at what that means if we are hiking or more significantly flying.
Consider this. If you’re going somewhere and you’re off course by just one degree, after one foot, you’ll miss your target by 0.2 inches. Trivial, right? But what about as you get farther out?
- After 100 yards, (one football field) you’ll be off by 5.2 feet. Not huge, but noticeable.
- After a mile, you’ll be off by 92.2 feet. One degree is starting to make a difference.
- After flying from San Francisco to L.A., you’ll be off by 6 miles.
- If you were flying from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., you’d end up on the other side of Baltimore, 42.6 miles away.
- Traveling around the globe from Washington, DC, you’d miss by 435 miles and end up in Boston.
- In a rocket going to the moon, you’d be 4,169 miles off (nearly twice the diameter of the moon).
- Going to the sun, you’d miss by over 1.6 million miles (nearly twice the diameter of the sun).
- Traveling to the nearest star, you’d be off course by over 441 billion miles (120 times the distance from the earth to Pluto, or 4,745 times the distance from Earth to the sun).
Over time, a mere one-degree error in course makes a huge difference!
It is much the same with our trek of life. We allow small, seemingly insignificant obstacles to divert us from our intended path. It may not seem like a big deal, but over days, weeks, months and years it will have a large impact.
What are you accepting in your life? What is your tolerance for being off course?
Neither a marriage nor a business fails overnight. Cataclysmic failure generally comes from a series of small, correctable failures. I like to call these failures “1º failures.”
Just as it is hard to recognize being one degree off while flying at 30,000 feet, it is hard to realize these “one-degree failures” in our own daily lives. That’s why we need a crystal clear flight plan for our life and business, an easy way to measure success or failure, and someone who cares enough about us to hold us accountable.
Straying off course doesn’t have to result in cataclysmic failure in life or business. In fact, when flying, a plane is rarely on true course, but the pilot is continually making small adjustments to its course to ensure that overtime that the true course is followed to its intended destination.
While you may have never piloted a plane before, anyone can make in-flight adjustments along the way. We do it subconsciously when we walk, run, ride a bike, or drive a car. It is not the fact that we are never off course, but the fact that we know what our destination is, and we are continuously making life course corrections every moment of every day.
We all get derailed from time to time. We all experience some type of failure. To succeed on our trek of life is to realize when we are off course, and then do something about it. Successful people recognize their failures, make corrections, and get back on track. There is no need for despair if you are off course. However, there is a need to do something about it.
Jim Rohn put it this way, “We don’t have to change that much for it to make a great deal of difference. A few simple disciplines can have a major impact on how your life works out in the next 90 days, let alone in the next 12 months or the next 3 years.”
If you are on the proper trail of life, stay vigilant. If you aren’t, find your way back. In either case, enjoy the journey!
When flying, the pilot can stay on course through the use of a compass or GPS, which is tracking the plane’s location every second.
In the same way, if we are going to stay on the proper trail on our trek in life, then we need to use a compass or GPS that will ensure that we stay on course. What do you use to ensure that you stay on course?
You may not have the same Christian beliefs as I do, but regardless you do have to have a belief system or moral compass that allows you to know when you are on the correct trail. If we do not have this compass, then we will stumble along blindly, lost, not knowing when or how we have wandered off the trail. Likewise, we will not know how to get back on the trail.
For me, the Bible is my overriding compass. The books of Psalms and Proverbs are filled with many verses about staying on the right path. I would encourage you to look up the word path in these two books and see the many verses listed.
Here are just a few that provide me with a sense of direction and assurance that God will help me to stay the course of life.
- Psalms 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”
- Psalms 18:36, “You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping.”
- Psalms 23:3, “He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.”
- Psalms 25:4, “Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow.”
- Psalms 25:8, “The Lord is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray.”
- Psalms 119:35, “Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found.”
- Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
There are many more to consider, but that gives a sampling of why I consider God’s Word to be my map to guide me along life’s trek. Yes, I do get off of the path at times, such as when I ignore the map, but I know that I can return to the map and know the proper trail to take.
Let us remember to check our compass each day to make sure we are on the proper trails in life.