The keys were hitting the ignition so hard I thought they were going to fly straight out of the car, as it was rocking back and forth so fast it was spilling my cup of water all over my lap.
“Dude, where we going again?” one of my friends asks as he grabs another hand of chips from the bag. He finishes his bite and quips “man, what the hell are we doing? This road sucks.”
“Trust me, it’s awesome!” I reassured him.
What he didn’t know was we were about to ascend on one of the most beautiful views one can find in the Pacific Northwest. Of course, to get there we had to do a little off-roading first.
30 minutes later, Clank-Clank…. Clank-Clank” ….the keys shouted again.….. Clank-Clank…. Clank-Clank” even louder this time.
After a treacherous 45 minute drive and almost popping both front tires on the demanding bumpy mountain road, we finally reached the top of the mountain to see this…
I often think back to those college days when I would venture up to Blanchard Hill for a weekend of camping with friends. It took a toll both on the car and our stomachs as we gained elevation on the logging roads in our cheap little sedan. Back then – even if we were just looking for a cool spot to drink beer and roast marshmallows on a campfire – we unintentionally grasped something very important about life.
You don’t get anywhere amazing by taking the road normally traveled. It’s the roads less traveled which provide the largest payoff.
Of course you couldn’t reach this amazing view on smooth, straight, and well traveled roads. It’s too normal and too commonplace. It’s flat. It’s boring. They take you from point A to point B. Too many people travel along those roads to experience such an amazing and unique payoff.
I am reminiscing about this because I find myself on the bumpy road right now.
My “keys” are clanking so loud right now, so loud it’s deafening. I sometimes wonder why I am sacrificing other parts of my life and my earning potential in the prime of my life to do something different than others. Why am I not on the same road as so many of my friends? They “seem” to be driving so smoothly, smiling and enjoying the fruits of the road most traveled. The road I am on is extremely bumpy and very deserted, with so many potholes I am pulling the wheel back and forth, weaving left and right to simply keep the tires full of air.
But you know what?
I have realized it’s not specifically about the road you are on but the destination where you will end up. You must choose between enjoying the road or enjoying the destination where that road leads you. Most of the time those are opposing forces and I have learned you have to do a little off-roading to building anything extraordinary today.
Exiting the highway and ascending the bumpy mountain road is what is required of a successful entrepreneur. Some come a little more prepared, with their 4×4 trucks and their lifted chassis so they miss most of the rocks. And some – who may be thought of as a little bit crazy – just start climbing the road with whatever vehicle they might be in at the time. Yet it is these people, who may not have the luxury of a large 4×4, who learn to become the greatest navigators of the bumpy roads.
But in the end, it really doesn’t matter what vehicle you took to get to the top. Getting to the top, reaching your destination, is the only thing that matters. The view is worth the work and trouble of it all. The satisfaction of choosing the bumpy road – doing something most people don’t – overrides all the pain and challenge one experiences through it all.
Which road are you choosing?
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