When Life Takes a Detour

For every failure, there’s an alternative course of action. You just have to find it. When you come to a roadblock, take a detour. ~ Mary Ash

In life, no matter how sure you are with where you want to go, and you have move towards it, a roadblock comes and stop you on your track. It will create a detour from where you are, to where you want to be.

It happened to me, and I’m sure it happened to you at some point in your life.

One of my unforgettable detour was in the year 2012. Back then, I was sure of what I wanted, and I was somehow living it. I wanted a life free from the normal cycle, some call the “Rat Race”.  I wanted time and financial freedom. I wanted to continue writing blog articles and publish more books through this website, www.lifetofullest.com  I wanted to do public speaking events to promote entrepreneurship, financial planning and personality development. And most especially, I wanted to spend more time taking care of my little son who was just born that year.

My “ideal” life happened for sometime. However, in 2012, my life took a detour. I got distracted and focused my time on the business process outsourcing / accounting firm I co-founded in the Philippines. My agenda then was to continue practicing my profession as an accountant, in a small scale, while continue living and building my “ideal” life. But unfortunately, I realised too late that managing a service firm like the one I co-founded, will require a lot of time, that it will detour me from my ideal life.

Managing the service firm, I consider, as a life detour and it drove me away from my ideal life. I was back in the normal cycle of working 8am to 5pm (most of the time even beyond 5pm). I was too busy, I stopped writing. I no longer had time writing blog articles, and the books I wish to publish didn’t happen. And I guess the worse part is not having much time to stay at home and look after my son. I still get a chance to bond and spend time with him, but it is lesser than the time I spend at work. As such, my “ideal” life of having both time and financial freedom became far from reality. A funny and ironic life detour.

However, such life detour isn’t that bad after all. Because it reminded me of the life lessons that I know I needed to improve myself and my life. And some of these are the following:

1. Life is Not About the End, it’s About the Journey

  • I used to be the type who always focus in the future, the end or goal. Its good to have an end in mind, but with the life detour I’ve experienced, it reminded me to enjoy the journey, even if its difficult. It reminded me that there’s always something to be grateful in life even if doesn’t give you exactly the way you want it.

2. Learning More About Yourself

  • There’s a saying that goes “Grace under pressure”. It means the behaviour of a person under pressure. Life detour showed me I was still weak and fearful. I thought I was already brave and unconventional, but it showed me I wasn’t especially at the early part of the detour. I realised later on that if I hadn’t been too fearful and weak, the result would have been different. At the same time, I also saw my strength. I saw that I can rise up in adversity. That I can still continue to live each day doing the best I can to make a difference. Despite the detour and difficult journey, we were able to grow the service firm. It now employs around twelve people. We were able to create jobs and make a difference in the industry.
  • When life takes a detour it reveals who you are. Use this time to get to know yourself, your strength and your weakness.

3. Keep Going and Move Forward

  • When life takes a detour, you tend to hold on to “what ifs” and cling too much with the past.  An important principle I learned to implement from my own life detour is the phrase, “Keep Moving Forward”. It means let go of past happening, and keep moving today for a better future. Life may not be perfect, but you got to get up each day to work and make your dream happen. As the saying goes, “When life gets hard, the tough keeps going”.
  • When my life took a detour, I kept moving, I didn’t stop reaching and working on my dream.

4. It’s Never Too Late to Start Over Again

  • When life takes a detour, it doesn’t mean you won’t get to where you where you want to be. It may only delay you a little from the plan. Do not forget that you can start over again. It’s never too late to start over.

5. It Reveals Your Purpose

  • When life takes a detour, sometimes it may lead you to where you should be. Some may call it destiny. Though I’m a firm believer of life is a choice, and not of destiny, but sometimes, life do show you where you should be (your purpose), and it’s up to you to take it or leave it.
  • With my experience of the life detour, it also made me realised that my profession is something I’m good at. In managing the service firm, we were able to make changes in the industry such as raising the quality of accounting service for Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs), promotion of tax compliance and making business owners aware of their accounting and tax obligations, computerised accounting and tax compliance for SMEs, and many more. The firm somehow created change in the way SMEs do their accounting and tax obligations.

Currently, my life is still on detour, if I will look at my “ideal” life I’m not back there yet, but I know I’m moving towards there again. And even if I am not there yet, I am enjoying the journey.

I started writing again to remind me of the principles I want to live by. My search for time and financial freedom is still there. However, it will not keep me from holding on to my responsibility in the service firm that I started and built. Instead I will try to manage both. Someday, I know my dream life will happen again if I keep moving.

The same is true with you, just keep learning and keep moving forward. And most importantly, have courage to start over.

I hope this article has inspired you in your life detours. For a final note, let me leave you this thought from Andreas Mortiz of www.livelifehappy.com:

You may think that taking a detour in life is a “waste of time and energy”. But you can also see the detour as a means of learning more about who you are and where you are heading in your life.

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