What does it take to succeed? The answer depends on how you define success. If your goal is to break new ground, actions in that direction are a success from the day you begin. The hardest part is deciding to “take the path less traveled by” as we are inspired to do by Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken.
Reflecting upon this poem, most focus on the concluding stanza that taking the path less traveled by “has made all the difference.” And indeed it does. But if the “difference” is uplifting, then why do so few take a unique path? It’s because there is considerable brier along that way.
Consider the title of the poem: The Road Not Taken. It’s the brier of social and financial constraints — the sirens of incrementalism where most on the traditional path sing out to those who begin to strike out down along the unique one”don’t stray too far – better to break a little extra path on the edges than stride upon a new one.”
This beckoning is sometimes a chorus in the field of human rights. To some extent they are right. There are awards and accolades for those who hedge along the edge, plus there is success, for oneself, and for others as the path is widened. The many new human rights declarations and treaties are essential and break new ground on their own.
But the traditional path is a long circuitous one beholden to those with the power of the nation states who design the path, and for the most part these steps create reports and advisory opinions rather than enforceable law.
This is not to suggest that the traditional path be abandoned, rather let’s encourage some to take the path less traveled, and cut back the brier for them. The two paths may converge with the many breakthroughs being consolidated into a truly enforceable document: a Global Bill of Rights. The way to break ground for all humanity is through both paths uniting together in a plan for peace and prosperity within a global community.
We may arrive scrapped and bruised, but it will make all the difference.