This is a guest post by Tadd Mencer. He is the owner of CubeLab Media, a fiction writer and a pretty nice guy. You can read his blog, follow him on Twitter or like him on Facebook. If you want to guest post on my blog, check out my contact page.

It’s late at night, my stomach starts grumbling. “Feed me!” it complains. I make the attempt to ignore the complaints and continue with what I’m doing. However, the nagging continues until it’s no longer a simple complaint.

Photo Courtesy of: Creative Commons

I raid the refrigerator, looking for something to fill this void and come across a staple in every man’s diet. Fish sticks.

The fact that they’re a heart attack waiting to happen, they’re delicious. Well, palatable at least. They’re also quick, and I’m starving.

Looking at the microwave, the instructions say for eight frozen, greasy chunks of fish it takes about five minutes to cook. While seeming like a long time for such a small thing, I shrug my shoulder, place the ice chunks on a napkined plate and toss it into the microwave. Push the buttons for five minutes and away we go.

This is where it all goes sound. Two minutes into the cooking I decide to flip the fish sticks over (according to the instructions). I open the microwave door, and start the flipping. But they’re hot! They must be done! I decide to take the plate to my desk, devour the fish sticks and continue my work at my desk.

We often times forget that the instructions given, are not meant to be by-passed or shortened. So often we try to take the shortcuts in life, thinking they’ll lead us to success, contentment and joy. This is a big mistake.

Here are just a couple of ways people seem to try and take shortcuts in life.

1. We let ourselves believe that if we play the lottery every chance we get, we’ll win millions of dollars and skirt right around the traditional work week. However, by putting all your hope in this, you end up depressed, miserable, and broke.

2. If we just take this little diet pill we’ll lose all that extra weight and we can still eat at the local fast food restaurants and not have to exercise. This leads to losing little to no weight and having more health problems than when you started. You can’t expect a little pill to make you thin, healthy, and beautiful. In reality, all it takes is a change in eating habits and a simple walk in the park each day.

3. We can zoom around this light by charging full speed through this parking lot. A police officer spots you, chases you down, and you end up with a large fine. It would have been better to just be patient, wait your turn and relax.

We, as a human race, love to find short cuts in life. Not follow the instructions. Ignore the facts, ignore the reasons they have those instructions and just go for the quick fix.

The end of my fish stick story is not a happy one. Shortly after devouring the sticks, my content smile started to waver. My stomach, which was quiet for a spell, started grumbling yet again. This time it sounded more like a volcano wanting to erupt. I knew there was a problem and sure enough there was – I ended up with food poisoning.

I learned two important lessons on that fateful night:

1. When instructions are given it is for a good reason.

2. Fish sticks are less tasty the second time around.

Every person can and will experience success, contentment, and joy, but first you have to be willing to following the directions and stop taking shortcuts. Life is to short to take shortcuts.


Discussion Question: What shortcuts have you taken lately? What was the end result? You can leave a comment below.