“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference. “
From: The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.
We all want to live interesting lives but some of us, perhaps a lot of us, feel that we are unable to attain such an existence. We’ve all been taught from an early age to colour in between the lines, follow our leaders and meet deadlines. It’s easy to find ourselves living lives that are totally dedicated to the preservation of inherited systems of thinking and of working. After all, we do need guidelines to keep society functioning. We need them to stop our worlds from devolving into chaos but sometimes if we adhere too closely to the guidelines we can lose the spice of life. I believe that we all have a right to an interesting life and we can attain that. But the first trail we have to overcome is that of daring to be different.
Let me state the obvious for a second. You would not be the person you are today without having lived the life that you have lived. You have a series of unique experiences that give you a different viewpoint on the world from those around you. This unique perspective is extremely useful to society as a whole. The experiences you have are both your own and shared human experiences and we all can learn and better ourselves by seeing and hearing the uniqueness in other beings. If you look at it another way, it’s easy to say that being different gives you its own social advantages. Being different doesn’t make you a victim. It makes you an asset to those around you.
So how can we try and bring out our uniqueness, our own differences, in a social context? Well, my suggestion is for you to do things that are outside of your comfort zone. You are an amazing, multi-faceted being but it’s hard to know what about you is unique if you are surrounded by the familiar. In many ways, you are the things that you encounter in your life, so getting out of your comfort zone and going to do something you wouldn’t normally do will help you to see what makes you different from others.
If you dare to be different, if you try being more than you think you are, life will open up to you in new and exciting ways. You will be able to express your wants and desires more clearly and this will change the way that people respond to you. There is great respect given to people who are looking outside of themselves and, on the flip side, it can be frustrating to meet someone who is so caught up in their own life that they barely ask questions or try to engage with those around them.
The poem the road not taken by Robert Frost has many meanings, some not intended by the author but a key one that has been translated cross-generationally is that of the profound importance of taking the road less travelled by. The recognition of one’s own life as a unique experience. The things that are most valuable to you and those around you are those things that you find on your own journey through life. It’s the ways that you bring out and explore your uniqueness that make all the difference.