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The Road Less Traveled Book Summary

Life is difficult. We all can agree with that. But when we accept that life is difficult, it's not difficult anymore. This is the first paragraph from the book Road Less Travelled. It may not make any sense to you right now, but when you've done watching this video, it’ll make a lot of sense. As a psychiatrist, Scott Peck was faced with people with all sorts of different problems and he argues that we all will have problems in our lives. … If you don't have any problems right now, just wait.

But how do we often respond to these difficulties? The first instinct is to run away from the pain and try to ignore our problems but there is one big issue with this approach. The problems are not gonna fix themselves while we avoid them. So the first step is to admit that these problems exist, to admit that life is full of problems, to admit that life is difficult. Even the first step is not easy and it takes work. But once you accept that life is difficult then you go to the second step.

Taking responsibility

To improve our lives we need to accept responsibility for our problems. As a psychiatrist, Peck encountered many patients who blamed everything outside of themselves for their problems. They blamed the government, the society, the economy,… anything but themselves. Conversely, some blame themselves for everything that happens to them. Peck says that there must be a delicate balance between accepting too much responsibility and too little. My mentor, Jim Rohn, used to tell me don’t wish that life was easier, wish that you were stronger. I took this advice very seriously and stop blaming things outside of me. This put me into a journey to self-development, simply because I took responsibility for my life and realized my life is not going to change until I change. I started by small changes, doing things that were easy to do and I wasn't doing them already. This alone took my life to another level.

The second tip while facing problems is to delay gratification.

A lot of us focus so much on the short-term pleasure that we lose sight of the big picture. As I said problems are not gonna go away simply by avoiding them. If we decide to face the problems this may cause short-term pain but the result will definitely worth the pain because it will make you into a stronger person and you will be more equipped to deal with future difficulties. Accepting short-term pain ultimately leads to growth and slowly but surely we become the type of person who can tackle problems as they arise. This applies to all areas of life. Personally, for me, this helped me a lot to control my sexual desires. I used to have a lot of problems with watching porn, masturbation, and other things that some of you might relate to it. Then almost two years ago, desperate to change, I came up with a community they call it NOFAP. The simple act of deciding not to masturbate when you have that desire and not going to porn for refuge when life gets tough. This completely transformed my life.

I can see that compared to two years ago I am much stronger, not just to face sexual desire but to face any other difficulty that life throws at me.

This brings us to the next key point I learned from the book and it's about love. Peck argues that before loving another we first have to love ourselves. I liked the way he looks at love. He says that love is not a feeling despite what so many people think he looks at love as an action. When you meet someone you find interesting you might fall in love with them but this is a short-lived feeling and it will pass almost as fast as it came. You should not confuse these temporary feelings with true love. True love only exists in the absence of such fleeting emotions.

True love is separateness. True love is not about being dependent. It's easy to rely on another person for your happiness and value the relationship you have with the person more than the person himself. In genuine love, you see your partner as a separate individual. We must value their dreams and their goals to let them grow and spiritual growth is the ultimate expression of true love. The act of loving someone else makes you vulnerable. It puts you at the risk of suffering if you lose them. Remember it takes effort to love. And the effort you put to love someone else will make you a stronger person. There might be times in a relationship that arguments occur but if you know that love takes effort and you are committed to acting on it, this can save the relationship.

It can be as simple as being there for your partner and listening to them. So loving the other person is one way or maybe the best way to grow spiritually.

By now, you probably agree that life is difficult. If you truly accept this, you no longer wish that it was easier. You take responsibility for the problems in your life. You delay gratification and work on yourself to grow. Then you go out and find someone to love. If you stay in the path, after a couple of years, you will need a telescope to look back where you are standing right now.

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