While living in New York City, I used to travel through the Bronx by driving on I-87 (also called "The Major Deegan") to get to my EMS job in Yonkers, New York. Well, sometimes the Major Deegan would be congested with traffic because people use that highway to get to the George Washington Bridge. If you got caught in that traffic, you would have to sit there for about 15 or so minutes until you past the George Washington Bridge exit, and when you do, the traffic would resume to normal.
Being tired of always getting suck in this traffic, I thought to explore an alternative way. The alternative was actually a service road that ran parallel to the Major Deegan, and surprisingly, that service road would be nearly empty! It was amazing how many people DID NOT drive on that road. I mean, the road was RIGHT THERE beside the highway and it was very easy to get to. But, everybody decided to drive on the Major Deegan instead.
Once I get on that service road, I would be breezing by all the bumper-to-bumper traffic just tickled! All these folks are just wasting their time taking the easy route while I was cruising by on the service road. I truly cut out about 15 minutes of wait time by taking the service road. Plus, I had no stress about being late for work -- which I usually was.
I truly did take the road less traveled. Literally! That road was less traveled in comparison to the traffic on the highway.
I think about life and how we often times DON'T take the road less traveled because we're too comfortable taking the road that everybody travels on!
The biggest danger in always going with the "flow of traffic" is that you don't know what your options are. You do only what you know works. If anybody would come to you presenting a different way, you'd get suspicious and question that person.
For instance, homeschooling is a relatively new concept -- even though our ancient ancestors did it! Since the 1920s, public school attendance became mandatory until the age of 16. However, it wasn't until the 1970s and 1980s when more and more parents started to pull their kids out of schools to educate them at home. But the government wasn't comfortable with the idea that parents were educating their own children at home. These parents were taking a road less traveled on -- and it was good that they did! Currently, homeschool education is legal in all 50 states. Now, parents have the freedom to choose their children's education format, be it in an institutional setting or a home setting.
Entrepreneurship is a relatively new concept -- even though, once again, our ancient ancestors were entrepreneurs. During the U.S. Industrial Revolution of the 1800s, working for factories and warehouses became the thing to do. Then labor laws came out to support the well-being of these workers: no child labor, no working in dangerous conditions, no working 100 hours a week, getting paid for working over time, labor unions to protect worker's rights, etc. From that period onward, being an employee was the thing to do. Everybody felt comfortable doing it. But working for yourself was a road less traveled on. Now, there are millions of entrepreneurs, and many of them are millionaires who started with no money!
So many innovations started when someone decided to take a road less traveled. Everything from flying in the air, making money online, working from home, and even growing your own food (even though our ancestors have done it!). But that's pretty much the definition of innovation: doing something that nobody else thought was possible!
You see, there are MANY unseen opportunities in this world because we rather do what's comfortable than what's uncomfortable. We'd rather do what has always been done, to do what other people are doing, and to simply "go with the flow."
So, if you are unhappy where you are, then consider taking an alternative road. Look at other ways to get what you desire rather than do things the way other people do them. Look for opportunities that other people don't see, and when you succeed, leave a trail behind so that other people could know that it can be done.
Someone would challenge you, making you think that your ideas are crazy, that you ought to play it safe in life. But when that person challenges you, look at that person and ask yourself if this person is happy where he or she is in life. People who challenge you are the same ones who haven't accomplished everything they've wanted in life.
Next time you decide to take the same road to work (or to wherever you're going), try a different route.