What exactly is the “road less traveled”?

Celebrated in song, lionized in literature and proclaimed in prose, the “road less traveled” has captivated creative types and rebels since time began.

In the modern day, we can ascribe much of the ado about the choice to Robert Frost, with his entrancing description of choosing a path through the woods while out walking one morning –

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

The romanticized notion that when at a crossroads, one should take the road less traveled is, quite frankly, nutter.

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What in the world do you want to go tripping through the brambles, being bitten by chiggers and other bugs, when there’s a perfectly serviceable path to get you from point A to point B, and likely in much less time (which would kind of indicate why one path is much more traveled, duh)?

I don’t get it.

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Ok, ok, I’m just pulling your leg.

I do this funny thing called sailboat racing, and I’ve talked about it before.  It requires dedication, determination, and a willingness to sit around being bored out of your skull like we were for a couple of hours this past weekend.  Normally in sailboat racing, at least the kind I do (one design or match), if you are the losing boat, you must choose to take the road less traveled, which would be better described as going a different way than the boats in front of you, since you certainly can’t beat them by following them.

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And now that I write it down that way, it seems to me that competitions without a proscribed path are ripe for winning by those who can figure out a better way to get there.

In the world of business we call that disruption.

And right now the entire world is all about disruption, one way or another.  It’s a form of madness, perhaps – this absolute sense of ‘must do this in order to disrupt that’ – and the more things are disrupted, the more the sense of madness in the world seems to grow.

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On the flip side of the ‘road less traveled’ crowd is the always take the same way bunch.  These are the folks who don’t even know why they go a specific way to reach their destination; they just know that they go left after the start and they don’t tack until they run aground on the riverbank.

These are the people who have no idea what path they are taking, they’re just doing their level headed best to fit in with the crowd and maybe get some crumbs that will tide them over until someone else provides dinner for them.

It’s crazy if you really stop and think about it.  How is it that some people simply won’t ever take any kind of risk and get out there and do something that doesn’t have a guaranteed payout?  And I mean way more risky than buying a freaking lottery ticket.

After all, there’s a reason they call it the road less traveled and not the NY-NJ Turnpike, don’t you think?

So this isn’t a post about that book?

Haha, no.  I have never liked that book, I think it’s a sham.  I’m all about the Frost poem and it was co-opted by Peck and he should have been tarred and feathered for it.


Of course life is difficult!