You Can’t Get There From Here

usa map


There are some parts of the US where getting directions to somewhere is a bit of a struggle. That is without resorting to our friend the internet. Online, of course, you can find your way to just about anywhere. Then too there are those GPS navigation systems that seem to come in most cars these days. With those voices that always seem to be criticizing you no matter what you have done in your car.

But, enough digression.

Back in the day, when you had to actually ask someone for directions to get where you wanted to go, depending on where you were in the world, your conversation could go something like:



How Can I Get To Portland?

You: Can you tell how to get to Portland?
The other person: Why yes, just follow this road for 2 miles until you see the sign for the interstate, turn onto the highway until you see the sign that says exit for Portland.

Or sometimes, if you ran into someone who thought they had a sense of humor:

You: Can you tell me how to get to Portland?
The other person: Yes.

And then there are the folks who answer with the title of this article:

You: Can you tell me how to get to Portland?
The other person: You can’t get there from here.

And this third one is the version we are going to talk about today.

You can’t get there from here

Bunches of people have ideas about how they can change their lives. There are seminars, and books and online courses and audios, videos, and concerts. All of these things are valid and useful and have helped many people to lead better more satisfying lives.


learning ways

Lots Of Ways To Learn



But none of those things changed anybody. Not one of them.

Going to a seminar or listening to a tape does not change you anymore than driving from here to Portland changes you. You are still you when you get in the car, when you stop for directions and when you arrive at your destination too.

You used to be here and now you are in Portland.

And the commonality there is – you

You are in charge of your change, not the concert, not the webinar, just you. And that is why the title is the way it is, You can’t get there from here, because you are already here.

gas pump

Fill 'Er Up

Now true enough the guy kicking back on the front porch of the gas station you stopped at to ask directions is just giving you a hard time when he is saying that you can’t get there from here. What he means is that you are going to have to go somewhere else first in order to even get on the right road to Portland.

Maybe drive around to the other side of the mountain, or maybe cross the river before you can get to a place where it’s easy to start your trip. But eventually you can get to the place where you can start your journey to Portland.

In thinking about making life changes or thought changes or emotional changes, we can use the same phrase with almost the same meaning. You can’t get there from here.


A Bit Of Clarification
Now, for sure, we know that all changes are things we do, and just the going on of a trip or making a change in the scenery doesn’t create any real change inside of us. We can take the things we learn along the way – ideas from listening to a webinar or watching a video and then apply them to our lives, but the video itself does not make us change.


Sometimes, like the guy giving directions to Portland and saying that you can’t get there from here, we need to do a bunch of things differently in our lives before we can make our own change.

no self criticism

No Self Criticism

We might need to stop doing a certain behavior – something like criticizing ourselves whenever we think we make a mistake. Or maybe stop thinking a thought like it’s just too hard and I will never be happy, that’s just the way my life is – doomed to be forever sorrowful.

Those things are good to let go of and get them out of the way before you start to make your real change.

If there is a constant stream of self-denigrating words running through your mind, it is hard to get yourself started on living as the light-hearted person you really are. It is in fact, much easier to let go of those ugly thoughts before you start filling your mind with good thoughts instead.

And not really any reason to carry the old uglier thoughts around to save for later either, just in case being happy doesn’t work out.

Once you get started on your journey to Portland, or on the path of seeing yourself and the entire world as happy, light and beautiful, there is not much going back. Making a conscious change in your life, changes your life. You are not going back, and your trip will be a lot more fun and enjoyable if you are only carrying around one set of thoughts.

And frankly, once you experience how light your life is - when the set of thoughts you are carrying around is the peaceful, easy, good thoughts - you are not going to want to go back and try to find where you left those old unhappy thoughts.

Ever again.


16 Comments on “You Can’t Get There From Here”

  1. Susan

    …and then there are those who may ask…Is that Portland, Oregon or Portland, Maine? :o/ My GATE way of thinking.

    You are right. It is so much easier to carry Happiness than guilt and ugly thoughts.

    Another great article. With so much Thanks.

    1. Michael

      Maine. :-)

      You are so absolutely right. Happiness is ever so much lighter than guilt and anger and sadness. You only have so much room to carry around your feelings, might as well fill that space up with things that make you feel good.

  2. Perry Davis

    Hello Michael

    Making a conscious change in your life, changes your life is a simple statement filled with the truth about life. If people only realized that constant stream of self-denigrating words running through your mind is why their life is not changing Yes it is hard to get yourself started on living as the light-hearted person you really are. Something that I learned from Dr Robert Anthony has been very helpful in my life. What I learned is what he calls flip switch. Dr Anthony says we should monitor our feeling when we are not in the light hearted state flip the switch to a new thought which will change the state of mind. Michael great post.


    Perry A Davis Jr
    Music City

    1. Michael

      Thank you, Perry, for your kind words. I like Dr. Anthony, although I don’t have his newest program. You are so right, that conversation we are always having in our heads can change our entire day. I was watching the “You Can Heal Your Life” movie last week and there is a part in it where Louise Hay is talking about affirmations. I don’t remember exactly how she says it, but it is something like people complaining about not having prosperity and abundance in their lives.

      So she asks them how many prosperity affirmation they do in a day, and the answer is 10. then she asks them how many poverty affirmations they do in a day. The number is overwhelming. Everything we say in our minds is an affirmation of something, we might as well be telling ourselves something good for us. :-)

  3. Nick Catricala

    I am glad I read the whole article very careful to figure out what your where saying about “You can’t get there from here”, in te beginning was not as clear as I wanted.. but by teh time I got to the end.. I say to my self ha-ha!! now I got it:-) You are so true, we always tend to make plans to do this an dgo here and there… BUT unless we set our self properly, we never make it… (I know a lot about that haha :-).

    If I would read this great article a year a go, I am certain I may not get it as great as I got it today.. why? Becaue where I was (mentally) a year a go, was not a good place to get anywhere… I was every where and as you know when you are everywhere, you get no where… so here you have it… you done it again… you teach me a great lesson here… in order to get to Oregon, You must be on teh rith hyway :-)

    Thanks so much Michael,
    Nick Catricala recently posted..Reaching Out…My Profile

    1. Michael

      Hi Nick,

      You are absolutely right, you cannot get anywhere you want to go unless you are n the right highway and in personal development, we are always with us. There is nowhere else to go, nobody else to meet. just us, and we might as well make friends within ourselves because we are going to living with that person a long time. :-)

          1. Candice Michelle

            Actually you did a great job here Thanks a lot for sharing it. You obviously put a lot of work into that post and its very interesting to see the thought process that you went through to come up with those conclusion.
            Candice Michelle recently posted..glock holsterMy Profile

          2. Michael

            It is sometimes a roundabout way to get to the end of a story from the beginning, but it is always a lot of fun to write about that.

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