Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood

I try super hard not to be judgmental. Really, I do. I'm pretty much a "live-and-let-live" kinda gal, with a few exceptions. I'm reasonably tolerant of people I don't agree with, and I work hard to let things roll off my back.

That being said, there is one thing I have difficulty not judging: taking the easy way out.

People who regularly follow the path of least resistance are just not my kind of folk. I'm not saying you always need to make things harder for yourself; that's just silly. But often, when there's a way that's easy and maintains status quo, and there's a way that requires maximum effort, the growth opportunity is in the latter.

By way of example, almost a month ago I hiked up a mountain. In Hawaii, I climbed out of Diamond Head Crater. It was an incredible experience. The only way to see some of the best views on Oahu is to take yourself up, up, up the pathway to the top. As you approach the summit, you come to a literal fork in the road. (Not flatware, mind you; a choice of right or left.) If you go left, you take a winding, easy (for a mountain hike) set of meandering steps up to the top. If you go right, you face 99 steep steps through the mountain itself, with no landing on which to take a break. Because there are people behind you, once you take that first step, you gotta commit to the whole thing.

I went right.

It was tough! But I wanted to be able to say I did it, and I knew I could take the alternative path down to enjoy the view. When I reached the top, I felt like I'd really accomplished something. I had done the work, and I was rewarded with incredible vistas from my perch high atop Diamond Head.

The view would have been virtually the same, had I taken the other route. But it would not have felt the same to me. It would not have held the same significance.

I think life is like that. I observe a lot of people who do what's simple in the moment, and they continually miss the lessons that can only be learned through the struggle. Sometimes you have to feel the pain in order to grow. You have to put yourself through something extraordinary if you want to have an extraordinary life. You have to make sacrifices; you have to give something more.

The rewards are there for those of us who are willing to take ourselves up on the challenge.


Lost in Confusion said...

I couldn't agree more! I love you, Mags!

Emily said...

I couldn't agree more! I love you, Mags!

Maggie said...

I love you, too, baby! Thanks for reading, and growing.

Janie said...

I look for the easy way all the time, but it never shows itself. Or perhaps by now I just couldn't recognize it if it did. Slogging away up the difficult path I go. Remember: "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger."