A shortcut I missed for being stupid

When I moved to Shanghai more than one year ago I loved to explore the city. It was fantastic to get lost in some streets because I could always discover something exciting and new. However, when it came to the way to my office, I just found one way and stick with it for a long time. Until I saw how stupid I was for not checking more ways to get there.
One day I found a coworker in the subway and when we went out of the station and I started to walk on another direction, my college said: Where are you going? Don’t you know this shortcut?
It turns out that because I wasn’t using that shortcut, I was missing from 5 to 10 minutes each morning (!)
That was one or two months after I started to work there, so you can imagine how stupid I felt when I knew about it.
And the hard truth for me was that I could’ve known about it just by checking any maps app.
That was when it hit me in the face, how many things am I missing just because I’m not stopping and doing the important stuff beforehand, like checking my maps?
And the answer is painful. For me, for you and for everybody.
I published a post a few days ago about the difference between the important stuff and the urgent. And if you don’t know the difference, the urgent stuff would be running through the subway like a crazy guy because you’re too late. However, if you would’ve waken up earlier (important stuff) you wouldn’t have to run and arrive late.
But there’s something that most people miss, that’s even more painful to hear… And that’s when people say I don’t have time to read.
That’s like saying I don’t have time to think. It’s stupid.
These people don’t have time to read because they’re too busy running through the subway. But it turns out that if they read a book about their problems, they wouldn’t have to run at all.
I have a friend that every time I meet with him he starts to ask me questions about the same thing over and over. The thing is that he could have resolved it a while ago when he asked me and I recommended him a book, because it was exactly the sort of book with the solution to his problems. But he’s too busy to read.
I’m not a fan of shortcuts. I prefer what Seth Godin used to call the longcut.
It turns out that, even though reading a book can be seen as the long way, it’s the best shortcut you can take.
Avoid books at your own peril. If you don’t read, one day (I hope) you will feel as stupid as I felt when I discovered that shortcut in my way to the office. Or even worse.