Having traveled to my first country outside the US in 1996, I now reflect on the past 22 years, and 43 countries visited. Some of my first mindboggling memories come from the simple act of driving along foreign roads. I became curious about why some countries drive on the right side of the road and why others drive on the left. I became fascinated with roads, how they twist and turn and the symbolism that they often represent.
I grew up connecting with Robert Frost’s Poem “The Road Not Taken.” As a young teenager, it painted an image that all decisions were always bilinear. You either had option A or option B and that one path was more traveled, and one was less traveled.
- What if when the paths diverged, that there were more than just two roads to travel down?
- What if one isn’t less traveled down and one well traveled, but instead it’s a journey unique to the individual, and it’s not meant to be linear?
- What if instead of seeing two roads diverging in the woods, we saw a roundabout?
- Would the additional decisions cause decision fatigue or inspire enthusiasm?
- Would we be willing to circle the roundabout a couple of times, without fear that the centrifugal force would hold us back from our ultimate potential, or fear of being judged that we appeared not to know where we were going? Or worse yet, fear that maybe we took the wrong path and that there was no way of turning back?
In Hans Rosling’s book, Factfulness, he states:
“Critical thinking is always difficult, but it’s almost impossible when we are scared. There’s no room for facts when our minds are occupied by fear.”
If we allow our minds to flood with fear, then we cannot possibly ponder which path is the correct one for us.
- How do we remove the fear to gain the courage to take an unknown path?
By taking conscious baby-steps, one decision at a time. By starting somewhere and reevaluating the course often.
Life isn’t just about choosing between two roads. It’s about a series of decisions at multiple intersections, each containing various possible paths.
Sometimes we are driving on the right side of the road, which makes the right exits the easiest and the left turns daunting with oncoming traffic. Other times we are operating on the left side of the road, making the left turns the easiest and adding a technical level to the right turns. You still have to make the problematic turns, if you are determined to reach the path that you are meant to take.
- What baby steps can you take today to move you one step closer to where you want to go?
Newton’s First Law of Motion sums up this phenomenon accurately and is often defined as:
“An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”
What can you do today to be the unbalanced force?