In our Career Focus classes, one of the teachers kept quoting the book “The Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck. So, I ordered a used paperback version of the book and I’m finally getting around to reading on it. I’ve made it 29 pages and it’s interesting.
Self – help books are not my favorite to read. There are so many things that need to be changed in me that it is a little overwhelming. And, to be honest, I would so much rather be reading “The Sugar Cookie Murder,” a really fine book that keeps my attention very well.
But it is “The Road Less Traveled” for me today during some wait time at work. And it is interesting … not so much as the cookie murder mystery, but interesting, nonetheless.
Let me share some of it with you.
The first sentence is “Life is difficult.” Then it goes on to say, “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.
“Most do not fully see this truth that life is difficult. Instead they moan, more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly, about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy.
“Life is a series of problems. Do we want to moan about them or solve them? Do we want to teach our children to solve them?
“Discipline is the basic set of tools we require to solve life’s problems. Without discipline, we can solve nothing.
“Wise people learn not to dread but actually to welcome problems and actually to welcome the pain of problems.
“Most of us are not so wise. Fearing the pain involved, almost all of us, to a greater or lesser degree, attempt to avoid problems. We procrastinate, hoping that they will go away. We ignore them, forget them, pretend they do not exist. We even take drugs to assist us in ignoring them, so that be deadening ourselves to the pain we can forget the problems that cause the pain. We attempt to skirt around problems rather than meet them head on. We attempt to get out of them rather than suffer through them.
“This tendency to avoid problems and the emotional suffering inherent in them is the primary basis of all human mental illness. Since most of us have this tendency to a greater or lesser degree, most of us are mentally ill to a greater or lesser degree, lacking complete mental health.
“Some of us will go to quite extraordinary lengths to avoid our problems and the suffering they cause, proceeding far afield from all that is clearly good and sensible in order to try to find an easy way out, building the most elaborate fantasies in which to live, sometimes to the total exclusion of reality.
“But the substitute itself ultimately becomes more painful than the legitimate suffering it was designed to avoid. The neurosis itself becomes the biggest problem. True to form, many will then attempt to avoid this pain and this problem in turn, building layer upon layer of neurosis.
“When we avoid the legitimate suffering that results from dealing with problems, we also avoid the growth that problems demand from us. It is for this reason that in chronic mental illness we stop growing, we become stuck. And without healing, the human spirit begins to shrivel.”
The “tools, techniques of suffering, the means of experiencing the pain of problems constructively” that are discipline are delaying of gratification, acceptance of responsibility, dedication to truth, and balancing. …they are simple tools and almost all children are adept in their use by the age of ten. The problem lies not in the complexity of these tools but in the will to use them.”
So, let’s confront some of our problems this week and work through them, living through the pain and growing. We can do this together.
See you on the bricks!