We see words like this over and over again in the
course of our lives, yet how many of us truly take them to
heart and set our sights down roads that haven't yet been
traveled? How many of us take an honest look at who
we are and what we're best suited for, and then make a
decision to try something new and different, something
that not many others have attempted?
Many of us prefer safety to fulfillment. We take
jobs that are well defined for us, so that we don't have
to take the work to any sort of "next"
level. We keep our relationships limited to those
who are like us in many ways. These aren't
necessarily bad traits, but when we ask ourselves if they
allow us to spread our wings and fly in new directions,
the answer most certainly has to be "no."
The unknown is inviting, but it's scary. If someone
else has paved a way for us, then doesn't it make much
more sense to stay on the pavement so that we don't get
lost, or step in the mud, or get stuck with a thorn or
three? It does make sense if we want to stay safe,
and if we want our kids to see parents who aren't willing
to take risks and follow their hearts.
Thoreau is talking about blazing trails--what if you were
to blaze a trail that someone else could follow and learn
on? Then your contribution to the world would be
ever expanding, as more and more people follow that
trail--and they will, because they prefer to stay safe,
unlike you, and you've provided them with a safe trail to
follow, now that you've taken the risks and enriched your