There are many paths you can go down in life.
In fact, every day presents opportunities to choose one of several paths.
Do you watch TV, or do you read a book?
Do you text a friend, or do you call them?
Choices abound, and some are easier than others.
But even the easiest choices have unintended consequences.
How to Take the Harder Path
How often do you do what’s convenient instead of what’s meaningful and true for you?
Doing what you think others want you to do, or doing what you feel will get immediate gratification, doesn’t provide a whole lot of nourishment for your body and soul. It ends up feeling empty, much like I felt when I let others’ cries for attention dictate my own.
I am no expert on following the harder path. I only know what I’ve learned from others — and what I’ve discovered has worked for me.
For instance, when I practice my instrument, I feel productive.
Whenever I pick up my instrument and practice I have the urge to play the music in front of me perfectly. After years of practising and training, I have realised that I am starting to use the same methodology when speaking with people. I get super anxious and cautious of what I am supposed to say. This has great benefits. It makes me analyse what I believe about what the world. It forces me to be thoughtful and convincing. Writing is as much a process of thinking as it is about getting the words out there.
Speaking of words, how often do we share our words in ways that don’t actually carry the weight of what we want to say? It’s difficult to convey strong emotions over a text message or a comment on social media.
The harder path would be having a conversation on the phone or in person.
Because the harder path is the way of skill development.
This is the case because when we talk with someone on the phone or face-to-face, we get feedback in the moment. We can pick up the tone and inflection of the other person’s voice. We can use context clues to learn about how they are feeling. And we do all this so we can respond in kind.
We lose so much context when we communicate via the easier path, whatever easy path that may be.
Which Path is the Right One?
It’s hard for me to answer this for you. Sometimes the easier path is totally fine. Other times, it has long-term consequences, such as decreased connection with others or increased attention-seeking behaviour. Consider this when you choose your paths in life.
What I think you’ll find is that the harder path doesn’t feel so great at first. It’s the harder path for a reason. It’s like walking on cobblestone or gravel instead of a paved surface.
But walking on uneven surfaces builds strength and stability.
It teaches you about yourself. It teaches you what you’re capable of.
And, in reality, you’re capable of a lot more than you think.