Road to Self-Improvement: The Road Not Taken

“When we strive to become better than we are,
everything around us becomes better too.”
– Paulo Coelho

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…”

That’s the first line in Robert Frost’s poem entitled “The Road Not Taken.”

Each time you wake up in the morning, you stand at a fork in a road – one path leads to self-complacency and the other to self-improvement.

“And sorry [you] could not travel both
And be one traveler, long [you] stood
And looked down one as far as [you] could
 To where it bent in the undergrowth;”

You wouldn’t be able to see what lies ahead  because the forest of life is dense and the road is not straight. All I can tell you is you will either bear the consequences or enjoy the results of  choosing which way to go. And you were not born yesterday not to know the repercussions of self-complacency and the wonderful effects of self-improvement. You know which direction leads to ruin and which one winds through the valley of success and happiness.

But the road to self-improvement is either not taken or the one less traveled because it is easier, if not intuitive for people, to be complacent. Well, according to neuroscientists, we should blame our brain for this. And this is where we’re good at – putting the blame on someone or something else. Would you now add your brain to the list of what or who is to blame for your failures?

Neuroscientists say that we are naturally wired to prefer either lying on the couch or sleeping. We are naturally lazy. We hate getting out of our comfort zones. We want things to be given to us in a silver platter. Thus…

“Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
 Because it was grassy and wanted wear;”

We don’t want to read or to do any personal growth and development program dropping as our excuse the lack of time to do it. We don’t like to undertake fitness programs saying they’re too difficult to commit too. We don’t believe in the value of proper nutrition reiterating that we have the right to eat whatever and whenever we want.

What we want is a magic pill that we can take to magically unlock our full potential and transform us into the best version of ourselves. The bad news is – there’s no such pill and there will never be. Self-improvement is not a magic pill to take but a Mt. Everest to climb.

Sometimes, when you feel like finally wanting to walk the path to self-improvement. You say…

“Oh I kept the first to another day!”

But having enjoyed your journey in the lane of self-complacency, you would exclaim…

“Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
  I doubted if I should ever come back.”

Well, God has given us free will. We live life the way we want. Nobody could ever coerce us into doing what we don’t like. Just don’t forget that whatever becomes of you when you get to the end of the path you decided to take when you came to that fork in the road is your personal choice. “Life is a sum of all your choices.” That’s from Albert Camus.

As I said in another article I wrote about self-improvement, “We indeed have the freedom to choose. It is just unfortunate that some people would choose not to make themselves better.” Free will is both a boon and a bane.

But should you decide to take the road not (or less) traveled – the road to self-improvement – this is what you would say when every strand of your hair turns gray…

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

About M.A.D. LIGAYA

Teacher-Writer M, A, and D are the initials of my two first names (Massuline and Antonio) and my mother's family name (Dupaya). Ligaya (a Filipino word which means happiness in English) is my family name. MAD is actually one of my nicknames aside from Tony and Ching. My full name is Massuline Antonio Dupaya Ligaya. Many times I was asked the question "Why do you write?" I don't write for material rewards nor adulation. When I write poems, stories, and essays, when I do research, seeing them completed gives me immense joy and satisfaction. I don't write for cash incentives, "likes," and "praises." I would be thankful should I get those but the happiness and sense of fulfillment I feel when completing my works are my real rewards. Is teaching difficult? No! When I teach, I don't work but I play. My educational philosophy - "The classroom is my playground, the students are my playmates, and the subject is our toy." Proud to be me! Proud to be a FILIPINO! TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

Posted on December 16, 2020, in Mindfulness, Mindset, Motivation, Personal Growth and Development, Self-Improvement and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Self improvement takes a lot. Wanting more out of life will come with tests. I believe when you put things out there into the world and make a choice to improve or be better, God tests us to see our strength and seriousness in that choice. I enjoyed this read

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks. Yes. Self-improvement is not a walk in the park. It’s a long and arduous journey. Often times we think that we embark on the journey to find success and happiness. The truth is we undertake the journey to become what we ought to become and success and happiness are but the results of us becoming what we should be.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Success and fulfillment come from counterintuitive moves and this is the road that most people are too afraid to take

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great points. It is so much easier to be lazy!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Beautiful. It is true that everyday, we do make a choice on if it will the same day or a different day

    Liked by 1 person

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