Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken”, resonates with so many, yet so few actually take the road less traveled. It’s aspirational. How often do you choose the road less traveled? Are we even aware that we are making a choice? You might not even notice that the grassy path exists, and you might cruise right past it. Let’s take some examples.
College. In the not too distant past, going to college was the road less traveled. Nowadays, it’s the well-worn path. Did you go to the college because it was a well-worn path? Are you encouraging your kids to do the same? What does the other path look like? If you are thinking “no way, of course, you have to go to college!” you are set right in the middle of the well-worn path. I encourage my own children to think of college as an option. We carefully consider what they expect to get out of college and other ways they might achieve these same outcomes. Here’s an example of what they want to get out of college:
- Knowledge. What other ways can they gain knowledge without a 4-year degree?
- A Job. Do you expect to get a job that requires a degree? Will you work for yourself or will you work for someone else?
- Camaraderie and maturing. A lot of learning nowadays is online, which cuts out the college buddy experience anyway. Are there other ways you can find groups of people to discuss your learning with? Friend groups you can join with like-minded people?
Career Path. Everyone knows that in order to rise up the ranks in your company, you need to have experience in certain areas, relationships with certain people and specific accomplishments. Do you follow those conventions? Are there other ways to advance in your career through a road less traveled?
A spouse, a house, and 2.5 kids. This model is being disrupted by millennials right now. The question is, “Is this the life you really want?” For some of us, the answer is yes, but for others, it wasn’t even a question, it was just what you are expected to do.
When have you chosen the road less traveled? How did it turn out? Let us know!