Beware the Road to Nowhere

Road to Nowhere GSMNP

Ah yes, my friends, be very wary of the Road to Nowhere. It can be very alluring. It starts out looking like many another road. Paved with promise, the signage urges one forward. It features nice landscaping with a few pretty flowers, but not a single hint of what awaits. Unfortunately, the Road to Nowhere is paved with all those dreams that never survived the rising of the sun. The end game, where it leads, is an empty, dark place where the whispers, “I wish…” and “If only…” drift along rancid, pungent, and stagnant air.

Sometimes it can prove hard to get past the turn off to the Road to Nowhere. There is a powerful draw to the place. Promise and potential shine at its entrance. Ephemeral, they dance just out of reach and tease one to the point of desperation. Reaching for them, pursuing them, one can easily lose track of the true path. And then one day, realization hits, the promise was false, the potential negligible.

The road that was smooth, fresh asphalt has become a cobblestone path, twisty and bumpy. It is so far off the beaten path it leaves one feeling lost and out of sorts. A little trickle of fear crawls up the spine and one wonders if there is even a way out of the murky pit all that promise has collapsed into. The signage has changed.

“I wish I could…” “If only I had tried…” “I really meant to but…” “It’s just easier not to try…” “What ever made me think this idea would work?” “Nothing ever works out for me.” “I’m stupid.” “Everybody else makes it look so easy.” “No one will like this.” “I am wasting my time.” “Why bother?”

Each negative affirmation is a cobblestone on The Road to Nowhere. Each doubt is a stumbling block. The further down the road one gets the more difficult it becomes to navigate.

The Road to Nowhere has a 5 star resort called The Good Old Days. If a person spends the night there, they are apt to not want to leave. They start to believe that nothing out there can ever compare to the way things were. Focusing on what was they cannot appreciate what is and they have no vision for what can be.

So, how does one avoid this trap as one sets out on a new enterprise. Recognizing the danger signs before getting too far along The Road to Nowhere is the key. Questioning what one is doing is OK, it can be beneficial; however, answering those questions in such a way as to impede progress is a sign of slippage. Letting everything that could go wrong obfuscate the vision is another sign.

At this stage in life, I have ventured down The Road to Nowhere a time or two. My advice, do not entertain self-doubt. Thoughts will randomly pop up, just because they show up in your head does not mean they have the right to stay. Do not accept failure. You will fail, it is part of the human condition. Use mistakes and failures as stepping stones. Do not allow mistakes or failures to become stumbling blocks. Do not criticize yourself. There are plenty of people out there who will take that on. Leave them to it! Do not accept criticism in a demoralizing way, treat it as a lesson if it is applicable; if it is not applicable toss it aside. It is not worth wasting precious time and energy on if it doesn’t apply. There are those who would drag you down for their own entertainment. Avoid these people if possible, if not understand it is a them problem not a you problem.

Find joy in the simple day to day aspects of doing what you do. Do things that make sense and add value. Do not focus on the goal, it may be way out there; focus on the little things that it takes to get forward mobility. Use caution if something looks too good to be true and if you find yourself on that mystical Road to Nowhere just turn around. Head in another direction. Yes, it really is that simple, and that hard. After all they say that life is a journey not a destination.

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