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The Power Of Choice

September 30, 2009

The road not taken (by Robert Frost)

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.

*         *         *


My head spins when I think of all the things I could have done instead of sitting and writing this. F r a nkly, there are, indeed, too many alternatives available in every given moment, and it’s great we don’t h ave to keep all them in mind (which I doubt is even possible) but simply live on.


The tragedy starts when we find ourselves on the other side of the shore, apathetically listening to the ticking clock, indifferently watching the course of events passing by.

What is a conscious choice and how free are we to make one?



A friend of mine, I’ll call her Lily, is a keen worker with a high level of responsibility and selflessness. A bit too much, judging from my own, selfish perspective. Except her professional skills, she is a reliable and supportive friend, always there to lend a hand. When I’m trying to think of her disadvantages, for the sake of this example, nothing comes across my mind.


For years, she’s been working in a company with no future, for a boss she hated, often overloaded with her colleges’ assignments helping them out. Unable to say “no”. When I asked her why doesn’t she quit and look for a better job, she usually started twaddling something fuzzy about it being not the right time and that she hasn’t made her mind yet. There was always something to come up, not letting her make the move. The excuses for her procrastination sounded amazingly persuadable.



Another friend is a professional artist and a violinist. She’s genuinely gifted and moreover, truly enjoys her playing and fosters a dream of embodying her talent into something bigger than entertaining the neighborhood with Paganini. None the less, when it comes to practical moves about her musical career, she makes one step forward and two steps back. Melanie – not her real name – plays the first violin in a small orchestra in her hometown. In my opinion, she’s got all it takes to make it, except pertinacity.

I have given her the recipe: Two glasses of numerous professional connections and active participation in music life – sure enough, she’s got that already. A table spoon of patience and a tea spoon of alertness. Scrape up all the will and persistence you’ve got in the house, borrow from your grateful neighbors (there can never be “too much”) and pour the lock stock and barrel in. Stir lightly, let it stew for a while. The persistence will slowly evaporate, but keep adding some more.


Melanie never used this or another recipe. Instead, she keeps nagging, unhappy with the way she lives but does nothing to alter a bit of it.



www.freedigitalphotos.netThis time, it’s a far relative, let’s call her Sandy, who’s an excellent salesperson. One of the best I know, certainly a whole lot better than myself. Unfortunately, social dogmas and norms have imposed their pernicious influence upon this girl’s mind. The issue here is about a college degree, which she is eager to obtain at any cost, on any subject, ignoring her present career opportunities. “A person with a college degree is always more valuable and successful than a person without one” – sounds familiar? Just let me remind you, that Bill Gates, one of the richest men in the world, somehow made his way to the miraculous fortune before even having a diploma. Naturally, education does play its role in a person’s career, as long as it correlates and contributes to said person’s occupation in this way or another. But we’re talking about chasing rainbows here. Sandy is in her mid 20-ies, and she hasn’t got the slightest idea about what she wants to study and why. But she is ready to sacrifice her quickly ascending sales career in a stable, promising company just because obtaining a degree, any degree, seems to be the “right thing”.


Psychology is not my cup of tea, and these three, apparently need some qualified coaching tips. Nobody is perfect, and I must admit that I have fallen into the “social norms” trap several times in my life. Fighting for something I didn’t really need, pretending to want something I didn’t care about, inclining to standards that did not correspond with my own goals. It’s getting better now that I’ve learned to analyze the process, taking notes of my own and others’ mistakes.


  • Wanting without acting.
  • Acting without thinking.


These are the most prominent life errors that devour our time and energy, pushing us backward, away from success.


Look around you. How many people you know use their mind and energy to get closer to self-realization? Would you place yourself among them?

*         *         *


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6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 30, 2009 1:00 pm

    Where did you get your blog layout from? I’d like to get one like it for my blog.

  2. October 1, 2009 11:08 am

    The layout is called “Vigilance” by Drew Strojny, I found it in wordpress themes.
    Thanks for stopping by )) Your blog is very informative and I found some articles quite useful, the youtube converter, for example. I’m going to try it )) I especially liked the “Tired of Reading the Job Hunting Tea Leaves?” post – professionally written!

  3. Steven Harris permalink
    October 1, 2009 1:11 pm

    I once had a friend for whom Procrastination dogged every moment of his life. I was much more able to make swift choices. He asked me about it once and I decided that it was down to something I cal;led ‘The F*** It Factor’. If there are two or more choices and you’re data or hunches about the outcome of any of them is insufficient then F*** It, go for one of them. If it doesn’t turn out the way you wanted, see if you can make a new choice further down the road. He was astounded but it seemed simple enough to me. Of course, kids, and responsibilities and work and whatever make it harder to just say F*** It later one. But there are still times I go with that philosophy, if I can.

    • October 1, 2009 1:36 pm

      Haha, I like the attitude ))) Light and simple ))) I guess I do use this factor in a natural way 🙂 in some or even most life situations, especially when I feel really TIRED of vacillating. I just don’t understand people who know what’s good for them and do whatever they can to stay as far as possible from the goal. There is always the pack who live the routine without enlightenment in their minds.

  4. memyselfandotherthings permalink
    October 3, 2009 6:54 am

    I love that poem! It’s wonderful:)

    • ostrix permalink*
      October 3, 2009 7:42 am

      I love it too, and always did even back then in those days in high school, when they made us learn it by heart ))) If you know other nice poems of that kind, you’re welcome to give me a link or just post it here ))) Have a nice day!

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