Kimberly Ann

Program Manager, Atienza Kali

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What is the value in taking the road less traveled by?

I have been giving a significant amount of thought in to the poem below. What is the value in taking the road less traveled by?

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

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.

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      Aug 23 2013: I appreciate your stepping back to consider Whitman in this way.

      Some people make the distinction between being non-conforming and being unconforming. The nonconformist always chooses the path less taken, which in its way makes his decisions about actions quite dependent on the choices others make.

      Research into great creative achievers finds them more typically to be unconforming. That is, they follow the path that draws them, regardless of the paths others are taking. The creative person tends to be more independent-minded in this way.
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        Aug 24 2013: Sounds like the uncomforming person has modesty..........while the non-conformist appears to choose out of a rebellious attitude.....playing devils advocate as he lives his life?
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          Aug 24 2013: I don't think the unconforming person particularly has modesty. He might and he might not.

          He simply is not guided by other people's tastes, either positively or negatively.
      • W T

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        Aug 24 2013: When you stated that "Research into great creative achievers finds them more typically to be unconforming.............That is, they follow the path that draws them, regardless of the paths others are taking."..........I thought of the definition of modesty:

        "the quality or state of being unassuming or moderate in the estimation of one's abilities."

        The creative achievers, according to your comment, follow a path that draws 'them'......they are not followers of other's paths......they know what they themselves are capable of, and pursue that one path/ in this sense, I therefore linked 'modesty' to their character.

        The word modesty has several meanings. Often, people confuse modesty with humbleness.
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          Aug 25 2013: There is not evidence that great creative achievers are unassuming or moderate in the estimation of their abilities.
      • W T

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        Aug 25 2013: As well there shouldn't be........only the creative achiever would know if they have gone beyond their abilities or not...........

        To the contrary, we would know that they had gone beyond their limit if they failed to accomplish something they thought they could do, and came right out and said, I overestimated my abilities.

        I'm not quite sure I'm making myself understood when I speak of the fine quality of being modest.

        But, that is the connection I made in my mind.

        Evidence, the kind I think you are referring to, does not really play a role in the observation I was making. It was just a personal observation........not necessarily scientific truth.

        As are most comments on here. :)
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      Aug 24 2013: And this from Wikipedia........"According to Larry L. Finger's analysis, nearly all critics have agreed that the sigh represents regret as this is mirrored in the regretful tone of the opening lines.

      He quotes scholar Eleanor Sickels as saying that the poem is about "the human tendency to wobble illogically in decision and later to assume that the decision was, after all, logical and enormously important, but forever to tell of it 'with a sigh' as depriving the speaker of who-knows-what interesting experience."

      Just thought I'd share.
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    Jul 29 2013: the road less traveled, has less garbage
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    Aug 23 2013: Forty-four years ago, my parents had great dreams for me and had my life all plotted out, with a military academy education, and a lucrative job following retirement from the military. I chose to take a summer job related to that path, but not as "gentlemanly." It became the summer job I forgot to quit until I retired from it 42 years later, knowing that I wouldn't trade any one of my experiences for five minutes of that carefully planned, very safe job.

    There's an old cliche about lives that read better than they live. Often, the road less taken is like that, filled with long stretches of boredom and a few moments of abject terror or dizzying triumph. You may love it or hate it while you're in it, but you won't appreciate it until it's a memory to be recounted -- a senior citizen's story told and retold to relatives and caregivers until those relatives and caregivers can repeat it under their breath, verbatim, as they roll their eyes at each retelling.

    Is there a value the road less traveled? That depends. Is there something so compelling there that you're willing to risk everything to follow that road? If not, avoid it -- for now -- but revisit the intersection often, in case you change your mind.
  • Aug 22 2013: Anyone who actually answers this question correctly should be banned.

    For if anyone does, you take away the real value in taking the road less traveled.

    Some things need to be experienced not just read.
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    Jul 29 2013: It's a beautiful poem, and doesn't warrant this question. A better question is "Would you enjoy this beautiful poem"
  • Jul 27 2013: There is not necessarily any value in taking the road less traveled by. You won't know the value until you take it. Life is full of these decisions. You choose to go to a hot dog stand instead of a burger joint, and at the hot dog stand you meet the love of your life, or don't, because the love of your life was eating a hamburger that day.

    I once knew a bachelor, in middle age, who was resigned to living the rest of his life as a bachelor. He met a woman at the vending machines where he was working and married her six weeks later. Imagine all the seemingly insignificant decisions that were involved in those two people meeting at that time and place.
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    Jul 26 2013: It will take us to the stars
    Where stories will be retold
    And you will be called to answer
    Has your life made any difference?
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    Aug 22 2013: Who knows? The road less traveled is more authentic and more revealing of novelty, rather then the one that had been trodden times and times again. One may get lost and disoriented by going on the one less traveled, but I also like a poem:

    Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
    That saved a wretch like me.
    I once was lost, but now I'm found.
    'Twas blind, but now I see.

    Many people like safety and stick to what they know.
    But if you let go of what you know, you may discover what you are.
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    Jul 29 2013: Different scenic photographs and less paparazzi. But really, it may widen your reality and your mental boundaries. If nothing else, it will be new, maybe exciting, and you'll think differently which is always good.
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    Jul 27 2013: it's only valuable if it is the road that pleases you. Sometimes in life you take the more traveled road, sometimes the less.
  • Jul 27 2013: I think more unknowns and opportunity to determine the road you travel yourself.

    Some people choose to do the unpopular thing because they believe to popular, or common thing, might bore them. They would rather try something different and unknown, good or bad, for the excitement and adventure of the decision.

    This expression has been used to apply to a lot of different paths.

    It is important to remember that different does not necessarily mean better.
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    Jul 27 2013: Einstein told something like below
    " Repeating same thing expecting different results , is insanity" ..... So written in the last line of the poem if one wants to make real difference , need to take the road less travelled by ............
  • Jul 27 2013: Hi Dear Kimberly Ann:).The topic reminds me one of books I read a few years ago.It is'The road Less travelled'?oh,I don't remember clearly the book's name,because I read it in Chinese translation.

    The book is written by an author who is a psychiatric doctor.He tried to share with us what is the so called:love, to solve problems we face in our daily life...I think the author accumulated all his understanding of life from his detail observation in psychological comprehension.It impressed me a lot because it did enlighten me to be conscious in broaden view to perspective in my life around.

    Oh,I got the book's information here,recommend it to you all:"The Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck.
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    Jul 26 2013: What is important is for you to take the road that calls you, regardless of how many others may be called to the same road.