Be Honest with Yourself
So often, there is a fine line between motivating and patronizing. Recently, I spoke with a close friend about a dilemma. Without being too specific, it comes down to two choices. Doesn’t it always. Even worse, these choices are almost boringly cliche. Option one is the road frequently traveled; the safe bet. Choosing this option would mean living in comfort and security. The downside? It’s boring. It’s been done. A billion times. Option two is the road less traveled. I’m making myself sick thinking about Robert Frost and how tragically overused this metaphor is. Anyway, option two is risky. Choosing this option would mean putting it all on the line. There are financial implications, geographic implications, emotional implications, professional implications. Option two would shake up everything. And the outcome is anything but guaranteed. Would you risk everything for a chance to live the life unlived? To step in snow just fallen? To do something few, if any, people will ever have the courage to do?
I shared this dilemma with my friend. His response was, “maybe you just need to be honest with yourself.” Our friendship can be tenuous at times. We don’t offer and take criticism from one another. It’s not because either of us are particularly thin-skinned. It’s more a function of tradition. There are certain friendships that elicit refreshing openness and some that compartmentalize the serious aspects of life in favor of escape. I could tell it took a lot for him to even offer this piece of advice, so I didn’t press any further. Still, his words bothered me. Is that it? Is the desire to walk the path less traveled so foreign to some people that they think it’s some sort of delusion? “Be honest with yourself.” What a defeatist phrase.