Why it's alright to make choices that seem unconventional
Often, taking the road less travelled leads to growth, breaks status quo and can be immensely rewarding
By Delna Anand
Published: Thu 17 Nov 2022, 8:24 PM
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.”
This line led me to read M. Scott Peck’s book The Road Less Traveled, and recently, I chatted with my teenage son asking how he’d interpret it.
“To not fall into peer pressure, to be your own person and follow your heart,” he said.
“But it isn’t always an easy road, the one less travelled,” I answered.
“But if you’re on a road you don’t like and you aren’t excited about where you’re going, you aren’t going to be that happy anyway,” he replied.
We are faced with choices daily. Should I speak my mind or go with majority? Should I join my friends in bantering with a sensitive person, or should I ask this to stop? Should I leave this job and follow my dream, or should I wait? We make decisions every day and we feel safer to go with what’s familiar, because change is hard. We humans are hardwired to resist change. Our brain perceives change as a threat, and it activates our system’s fight or flight response. Hence, we stay on the safe road. But often, taking the one less travelled is what leads to growth, breaks status quo and can be immensely rewarding.
Author John Strelecky writes that too many young people are pursuing college and vocational training they aren’t passionate about. As per statistics, a whopping 64 per cent of professionals under the age of 25 were found to be unhappy in their jobs. Strelecky adds that one of the key driving factors for young people pursuing a certain college degree, is their parents’ expectations/advice and peer pressure. The worst kind of decisions are those made because others have taken it before and it has worked for them, regardless of whether the individual resonates with it or not. Stability and safety are priority, but at what cost? And does your innate individuality matter?
It does matter, because doing what you want and love will drive you further and keep you on the growth path. You will have greater motivation to achieve things that you have previously only dreamed of achieving. The secret to happiness, after all, comes from making progress on the things you want to do.
1. Be true to yourself:
Life isn’t a race of speed or competency; it is about doing what is best for you. So, take the time to connect with yourself and affirm what you think feels right, instead of what majority thinks.
2. Adapt to change:
The pandemic has showed us that the ones who adapt to change, win. If there’s a roadblock or a diversion, accept it and adapt, make your best, most educated decision and move ahead. It may lead to beautiful roads ahead.
3. There is no failure, only feedback:
Sometimes we take a wrong turn, it’s okay to retract and recalibrate. There is no such thing as failure, just take it as feedback on how to approach the situation better next time.
Have you ever broken out of the popular path and taken one that your heart beckoned? Remember, there is no growth in the comfort zone, and no comfort in the growth zone.