“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
We’ve all heard Frost’s poem a million times and understand its meaning. That comfort with the poem means that we are too likely to disregard its significance. Often the things that we think we know are the ones that we most need to be reminded of.
I was reminded of Frost’s words when I watched Cory Richards’ video, A Tribute to Discomfort. In the video Richards talks about how taking the path less traveled, the unknown, the more dangerous path has shaped his life and work.
This isn't some new theory or idea. We are constantly being told to get out of our comfort zone. We have gotten so used to this advice that we have become incredibly adept at ignoring it. Ironically many companies use this advice as an advertisement for products designed to bring normally uncomfortable things into your comfort zone.
Success isn't natural. Practice, training, dedication, fortitude, none of these things come easily. We are fallen people, weak and flawed. The path most traveled, the comfortable path is one of laziness and complacency that leads nowhere.
The path less traveled can lead anywhere, it can involve anything. The only thing we know for certain about it is that it wont be easy.
New York Times writer Karen Crouse summed it up when she told students to take the path that scares them. Others have advised us to do one thing every day that scares us. We all know that we should be facing our fears, that we should welcome adversity but it is hard to live this out in the little things.
Often we feel prepared to tackle any task or obstacle as long as it is big. I’m totally down to climb Everest but doing homework sucks. I’ll gladly drive through the night if its for the Baja 1000 but staying up late to study is too hard. As Doug Wilson likes to say “Everyone wants to save the world but no one wants to do the dishes. We like to puff out our chests and throw out broad challenges but when it comes to the day to day decisions we drop the ball.
Don’t let your grand dreams overshadow your day to day life. Don't focus on the big goals and assume the little ones will come with them. Instead focus on your next task, do it well, take the road less traveled and the big goals will follow.
Anything that’s worth doing is worth doing right. The view is only as good as the climb that leads to it. A journey without hardship is not an adventure. Take the road less traveled. Who knows? It might just make all the difference.