When we hear about taking the road less traveled, people tend to think it’s a passionate path to glory or your dream. That is true, but what a lot of us don’t see are the hardships that come along with it, hardships which can scare anyone off.
Hence the lonely road it is.
Here’s a real look at the road less traveled:
1. You will notice the dead bodies along the way
The dead bodies being people who’ve given up or failed when they attempted to traverse the path. These are people who’ve attempted to start their own business ventures or quit their jobs to follow their dreams of becoming actors. They didn’t make it all the way. With that, it’s going to be very discouraging for you and it’s not exactly going to make you feel very excited about your own journey. It’s then up to you to continue on or not.
2. It’s not for the weak of heart
Taking the road less traveled is a tough decision to make and even tougher to keep going at it. It takes a lot of courage to drop everything you have currently (a job, career or some other responsibility) just so you can take the road less traveled. Along the way, you need pure diligence, tenacity and ever more courage to take the ride.
3. Not everyone will understand you
Most people are normal. They conform to society and have their own standards for living and stick to a way of life. So when you venture out on your own, a lot of them are going to stare at you in disbelief as they cannot comprehend why you do what you do. Furthermore, they probably wouldn’t ever try it themselves.
4. People will start to dish out discouragement
It may sound like you’re dealing with a bunch of ignorant people who are too narrow-minded to try to understand you, but that’s not really it. When people don’t understand something, they are all too quick to belittle it; condemn it. They will discourage you from your path, be it your family telling you you’re wasting your college degree, your friends asking why you aren’t earning half as much as them or even people in general laughing at you for your ridiculous business idea.
5. You will need to proceed without guidance
The road less traveled obviously means a lonely journey. It allows you to “be your own boss”, but it is here where you’ll learn what that truly entails. Doing things without guidance means taking responsibility for everything you do on your journey. No one will be there to hold your hand and mentor you. You won’t even know whether what you’re doing is right or wrong, which can be aggravating as it can be difficult to feel a sense of progress at all.
6. You’ll feel like giving up a lot of times, and that’s not easy to swallow
People like to say, “Don’t give up” and accompany it with a story of someone who did not give up and eventually experienced success. That is inspiring to hear, but do you know how it feels when you hit the point of feeling like giving up? It sucks. It doesn’t feel great at all. And it takes a lot of courage to continue pushing on even though you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
7. Self-doubt is very natural
With no guidance, no understanding from others and plenty of discouragement, doubting yourself would be very normal. This is where you start to keep questioning yourself and your dream. The future is completely unknown. And worst of all, fear can take control of you. Even though you probably started off feeling all hyped-up and inspired, that feeling may not last as it is taken over by doubt.
8. You will fail, many times
Failure doesn’t mean it’s the end — it merely means that in whatever you try to do, you won’t always see the results you expected. Taking the road less traveled means that you will fail along the way. Failure isn’t something easy to accept, but again, it’s not the end.
9. You can’t rely on luck
There is only hard work and opportunity which derives from the former. Then it’s up to you to grab them.
You may hear of successful people who seem to have it easy, but everybody has their own set of challenges at some point. So don’t rely on luck and hoping that some miracle will land in your lap. It won’t. Just work hard.
10. You need to find out what works for you
In your journey, there are going to be many people out there who claim to be “gurus” and they’re going to teach you what it takes to achieve success. They will swear what they teach works, but it most likely isn’t going to work for you. It worked for them, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will apply to you. It is through your own hard work and effort where you create your own experiences, and it’s your own experiences that will allow you to know deep down what actually works for you.
11. Success will take a long time
Have patience. Don’t expect things to be easy and hope to become an “overnight success,” which arguably doesn’t even exist.
12. It may not be for you
Some have tried the path. And left. It may not be for you either. It may feel like you’re a failure, or that you’re giving up. But it’s all okay, at least you tried. Your path may be elsewhere.
The road less traveled, while usually thought to be filled with glory and success, is still a road that isn’t taken by most people, for good reasons.
Whether you want to take the path or not is always up to you. What is your choice?
Featured image courtesy of terryballard licensed via Creative Commons.