4 Reasons to Consider Taking the Road Less Traveled

It’s here! The summer hiking season is upon us and I am fired up! Living in the Seattle area, I’m blessed to have thousands of spectacular trails within minutes. I’m taking a backpacking trip in September, so now is the time to start training…and I LOVE IT!

forest paths

Beyond the physical challenge, I love hiking for the beauty and time to think…ponder… reflect…ruminate. At one point on a recent hike, the trail split and one direction seemed  to be less defined and much more woodsy. It was obviously a path that was less popular. My dog took off in that direction, so I decided to follow along.

Was I going to get lost? Would I encounter some sort of wildlife? Was this a good choice?

The answers: Kinda. Nope – thank goodness. YES!

While I’m sure the more popular path was lovely and I would have met some friendly fellow hikers along the way, by choosing the path less traveled I had a more adventurous & rewarding experience.

Here’s why:

  1. Because the path was a bit of an unknown, my senses were heightened.  I was more aware of my surroundings.  Looking for landmarks or signs I could remember should I find myself getting turned around & ending up back in the same spot. I also found myself listening closely for any signs of others (human or wild beast) nearby.
  2. It was a bit more exciting because I was trying something new and it was a bit risky. Something most people were’nt willing to try.
  3. I had a sense of satisfaction after reaching the summit and seeing others who had taken the more popular path.  I did it! In a way, it was a confidence boost.
  4. I learned something! Whenever you embark on something new, you’re bound to learn something in the process. My obvious learning was knowing a new path to get to the summit. I’m always up for an opportunity to get smarter. That’s what learning is all about, right?

I have found similar benefits in “taking the road less traveled” at work. A couple of phrases that make me crazy is the old adage, “we’ve always done it this way”, or “that will never fly here!” Don’t get me wrong, there are times when you need to use the tried-and-true approach for completing an assignment, but don’t make it a habit.

Innovation and discovery would be dead if no one was willing to take a different approach – look at a problem from a different point of view – forge into new and unknown territory!

So give it a go. Try a new way of solving problems, making improvements or generating ideas. Remember, it’s not about the goal…it’s about the journey.

No guts – no glory!

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”                Robert Frost


Martha Duesterhoft is a Partner with PeopleResults. Follow her on Twitter @mduesterhoft or connect via email at mduesterhoft@www.people-results.com.