Two Roads Diverged

Maybe It’s Bad Life Advice

Let’s set the scene…

You. The woods (yellow woods, to be exact). A road. There’s probably mist. It’s a little cool. You can see your breath. The air is thick with poetry.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference. [1]

What does this say to you?

It’s not important that the traveler takes the road less traveled.

It’s important that the traveler was traveling and that knew they were traveling.

It’s important that the traveler recognized that they must make a decision about which direction to go, and that they made one.

That is the point.

Taking decisive action and choosing a direction is more important than the road chosen.

For starters, the fact that this road is less traveled is almost completely irrelevant.

We think, at first glance, that this is important — that it means that this road will surely lead to something special because it’s forgotten, it’s untried, it’s not where most people go.

This is not necessarily the case and only shows our inability to imagine beyond the confines of the world as it presently is.

Two years before, the road less traveled could have been the road more traveled. All the young independents saw it, all ugly and popular, and they chose the other road — leaving the road more traveled to become the famous, road less traveled.

Before this famous section, the traveler discusses that he could, of course, turn around but, knowing how journeys go, he’d probably just keep going.

This is why it’s so important that he choose the right road.

Don’t listen to him (or to the popular interpretation of his poem).

You don’t know where the road is going.

And you can turn around. Almost always.

It was his choice that made all the difference. He went on a journey, he was presented with decisions, and he acted decisively.

It’s most important that a journey is undertaken and that a road is chosen.

If it was only about finding the magical road less traveled, the poem could have been even better:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —

I took a hard right into the bush,

pulled out my machete,

and made a new road.

And that has made all the difference.

Take action, choose a direction, adjust later.

This is my daily project where I write about diverse ideas.

This is Dose #32.

[1] Frost, Robert. “The Road Not Taken.” The Road Not Taken. New York: Henry Holt, 2002.

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