Every important (and not so important) decision will create a road not taken. All the alternatives that you didn’t take are the roads not taken.
You took a particular road as probably that was the best available option among al the alternatives. Sometimes constraints (like money, available time, family etc.) might have forced you to take a road. In most cases though – it was your CHOICE to take that road. You had an opportunity to take ANY of the available roads and you made a choice to take THIS road.
So, what’s the problem?
No problem if you give your heart and soul to the road that you took and be committed to it.
Most people lives are different. They are traveling on a road but their minds are traveling on all the roads that were not taken. Typically their mindshare on “roads not taken” increases every time they hit a roadblock on the current road. Does that sound familiar?
The vicious cycle
That is the start of a vicious cycle that goes like this:
1. You are at a crossroad
2. You evaluate all available options and choose a road
3. You keep thinking about roads not taken as you traverse the current road
4. You hit a roadblock
5. Your mindshare shifts more to roads not taken
6. You have less mindshare on removing the roadblock
7. Your mindshare shifts even more to the roads not taken
8. Go back to step 5
Very soon you start doubting your earlier decision of taking THIS road. The result: the increased stress and the opportunity cost.
What can you do?
Just being aware of this is a good start. Knowing that for every road you take, there are a dozen other roads you won’t take. It is part of life. If you want to make the most of the road taken, you need to put your heart and soul on THIS road – that means a large chunk of your mindshare has to be on THIS road and not on any of the roads that were not taken.
All the best for your current journey!
Photo Courtesy: L.L.Goeff on Flickr