All Paths to Victory

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© Gaye Wilson 2007

I started this blog initially as a way for me to keep an online diary or journal of my various projects, noting how I do things, and ways I can make myself more productive. The name (and the quote under it) comes from a Lois McMaster Bujold science fiction novel (The Vor Game), where a character declares that the prudent person takes all paths to victory, in order to ensure that victory.

When I was discussing this with a colleague, she started to argue with me about the interpretation of that quote. She thought that taking all paths would be a waste of time, that changing direction would be a waste of time, or that this presupposes that you can’t change your mind and direction.

I disagree. I think, in this world of distractions and busyness, ensuring that all paths you take will lead to your goals is uberproductivity.

By this I mean that you should ensure that everything you do will lead you closer to your goal – your victory – whatever that is. I don’t mean that you should try something, then try something else, then something else, and expect to achieve anything other than scatteredness. By all means, try something, and if it doesn’t work after a jolly good go at it, try to achieve your goal in another way. Learn from your mistakes.

Another way to look at it is to use multiple approaches to accomplishing the one goal. For instance, learning a foreign language. Reading a grammar book will not teach you a new language in a hurry. If, on the other hand, you employ several different but complementary strategies, such as going to classes, using flash cards, taping vocabulary words all over the house, watching the news in the new language, speaking to native speakers in the new language, playing word games, reading children’s books in the new language, using foreign language software etc. etc., then you have a far better chance of learning to actually use the language than you will by reading a grammar book.

Do you see the difference?

What do you think?

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One Response to “All Paths to Victory”

  1. All Paths to Victory » Blog Archive » Working to a deadline Part 3 on December 27th, 2007 5:57 pm

    [...] Because of the tight timeframe for this project, I need to ensure that I finish it on time. The All Paths To Victory Strategy states that you do whatever it takes to complete your goal. In this case, the daily goals I set myself originally were best-case-scenario. If something happened to make me miss a daily goal, the whole project would be in jeopardy. [...]

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