“Two roads diverged in a wood and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference.”
I recall reading this classic poem, “The Road Not Taken,” in grammar school. Even so, an aspect of my mind that has long amazed me is the interesting assortment of things that I remember, as well as the many things (no doubt) of which I have absolutely no recollection.
What amazes me even more are the crystal clear reappearances of memories that seemed long forgotten – often as clear as if they happened only yesterday.
A book, a movie, or a song will light a candle of thought, which quickly becomes an inferno of details, that hadn’t stirred in my mind in ages.
Unwinding at the end of a day, recently, I came across the movie, “Dead Poets Society” on TV. If you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend watching it. In one scene, Robin Williams’ character was explaining to his class the importance of trusting in their beliefs and cherishing their individual uniqueness, even if the “herd” finds them odd or unpopular. He then proceeded to quote Frost’s celebrated poem.
I thought, “such inspiring wisdom to impart; such a wonderful seed to plant in young minds.”
Suddenly, as if a switch was flicked on, I was transported back to that rainy day as I sat at my desk (second row, third seat over) in Mrs. Connolly’s English class, reading that poem for the first time.
I realize now that the seeds it had sown had grown within me over the years. It’s amazing how an instance from childhood can quickly become so clear. Something that seemed so insignificant to twelve-year-old me played a significant role in who I’ve become.
I’ve learned that it’s often easier and safer to take the established route or the paved road. At times, it may be the more convenient and quicker avenue too, but it’s not as fun or challenging or exciting as forging your own path.
I don’t know if Frost could’ve foreseen the impact he’d have on a twelve-year-old boy, or if that was even his intent. I like to think he was just following his own “road not taken” and living truthfully, fulfilling what he knew was his purpose. Regardless, he planted a seed within me, one that firmly took root, and inspired me to forge a unique path to fulfilling my own purpose.
What path have you forged or are you now forging? What difference has that made in your life and in the lives of those around you?
Live on Fire!
D. Luke Iorio, CPC, PCC, ELI-MP
President & CEO
Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)