Insights: Hard Truths About the Road Less Traveled

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There are some difficult truths that we often find challenging to accept. The more we can hold these truths the more we are able to embrace our life. We believe that the more we turn away from the difficult parts of life the happier we are, but the opposite is true.

I started thinking about these truths after reading the book “The Road Less Traveled” by Scott Peak. I re-read this book every few years or so because it always reminds me of what is important.

Let’s start with one of these truths that we all know: we are all going to die.  The more we can hold this reality, the more we are able to appreciate each day.

“Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it,” wrote Peck.

People we love may not always love us back, or they too may die or leave.  This reality is not to make us scared but rather to appreciate the time we have with people in our lives.

Having material wealth does not make us happier. Having more money only gives us a limited time of happiness. Happiness truly comes from the inside out.

An important concept to remember is that we cannot find happiness.  Happiness is attained in how we live our life through our passions, goals, values and relationships. In other words, living authentically. You get to be yourself and in that you give of yourself but not at the cost of yourself.

Trying to make others happy will cost you too much. Trying to be perfect will only create pain and disappointment. Doing our best will allow us to learn and grow and become better.

“We are often most in the dark when we are the most certain, and the most enlightened when we are the most confused,” wrote Peck.

Your feelings are as important, if not more important, than your thoughts. I believe by listening to your heart you will have more accurate answers than by thinking your way to an answer. Using both your heart and head will work the best.

Actions always speak louder than your words. Always back up your words with appropriate actions. In fact, sometimes words are not even needed.  Your words have a lot of power, so be careful what you say to people. Take time before you speak.

Being intelligent or having a good education are only as good as what you do with them.

Now is the only time that matters. The future is only as important in how you live today. You do not have control over the past, just how you make sense of it.

“There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live,” wrote the Dalai Lama.

Life can be tough. We do not have control of what happens around us, however we have control how we respond to the world around us. It is not what happens to us, it is our attitude towards it.

Most of what others do or say to us is not personal. It says more about them than us.

Relationships are what make us happy. Relationships take effort and an investment, but they are worth all the effort they take.

We all have limited time and energy so never waste it. Make it matter.

As Peck write in “The Road Less Traveled,” “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

Contact Dr. Shelly Zavala at or [email protected]



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