“Two paths diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by.” -Robert Frost
You might be familiar with the above line from Frost’s Poem, The Road Not Taken. In his poem, he talks about the path he chooses when he comes to a fork along the current path he’s walking.
We walk many different paths at many different times during our lives. We are bound to come to many forks where we must decide on which path to take, without 100% certainty of where that path will lead us.
Sometimes the choice is clear. Almost as if there’s a big sign with flashing arrows pointing us in the right direction. Then, there are those times when we have absolutely no clue as to which path we should take. We overthink and over analyze to the point where we almost become paralyzed and unable to make a choice out of fear of choosing the wrong path.
How do we know which path is the right one to choose?
I wish there was a simple formula, but there isn’t. There are, however, a few things I have learned over the years, through encountering multiple forks, that have helped me decide on which path to follow. Perhaps they can help you choose as well.
Stand Firm in Your Values and Beliefs.
It’s important that you choose the path that allows you to keep your morals intact. Our identity is deeply rooted in our values and beliefs. If one of the paths is going to make you compromise those values and beliefs and cause problems with your self-identity, it’s probably for the best that you don’t choose that path. The last thing you want is to be in constant opposition to your moral code.
Look Back on Past Experiences.
Sometimes we choose a path that leads us, not back to the same fork, but to a fork that is very similar. In these times it’s important to look back on our prior decisions. Where did taking that path lead to? Was it filled with good or bad experiences? Ultimately, learn from the mistakes of your past. Draw information from those mistakes to help you make a choice that will lead to not making the same mistakes. It was Paul Coelho who said, “A mistake made more than once is a decision.” Don’t deliberately choose the path that you know leads to no good.
Follow Your Gut.
This one is almost deceivingly simple. Listen to your gut mojo! Your body is a very intelligent “being,” don’t underestimate its intuitive abilities to help you get to where you are physically supposed to be!
Ask Your Future Self.
A cool little trick that I use is looking to where and who I want to be in ten years. I ask myself “What would the Taylor I want to be in 10 years do?” Sometimes we need to make choices based on who we want to be and not who we are. After all, how will we ever change if we keep making the same decisions based on who/where we are if the who/where we are isn’t the who/where we want to be (that’s a mouthful)? Draw insight from your future and choose the path that takes you closer to that future. As a little forewarning, keep in mind that choosing this path will be extra challenging and will probably present many obstacles. Growth, as rewarding as it is, can also be extremely painful at times, especially when you are trying to create new!
Last, and Perhaps Most Important…
Is There Really a Right or Wrong Path?
I know, this whole article I have been giving you tips on choosing the right path, but as I said earlier, I’ve encountered many life-altering forks. What I’ve come to realize is that there probably isn’t a right or wrong path, so long as both paths are going in a forward direction.
I’m a strong believer in fate and life purpose, so I believe that regardless of the path we choose, we will eventually end up where we are supposed to be. Sure, different paths will lead to different experiences and lessons, but if fate does exist, then that path was going to be part of the journey all along, and those lessons and experiences from the path we choose are needed to help us become who we are supposed to be.
There’s always more than one way to get to a destination, just like there is more than one way to do things.
The best you can do is make the best decision for you. Be courageous and remember that you will always take away what you want to take away. If you have a positive and growth-oriented mindset, no matter the path, I don’t think you can go wrong.
And, if you truly can’t decide, take a lesson from the choice that Mr. Frost made when he was having the same dilemma.
“Two paths diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” -Robert Frost
You are BEAUTIFUL, you are SMART, you are STRONG!