Our lives are composed of roads. Within the greater framework of the journey of life, we find ourselves on many paths that build, break, and ultimately shape us. Each path that we take in life is the result of choice—some take us further from the people that we are meant to become, and others guide us back where we belong. Although we may have had no say in how we arrived at certain crossroads, we certainly have choices in how that path will be spent. In life, we do not have the ability to decide whether or not to travel—our choice lies in what we make of these journeys.
Sometimes we realize that certain roads are longer than we anticipated. The novelty and newness of journey kindles our spirits on the initial steps, when the sense of adventure is fresh and it is not too late to turn around. On the flipside, knowledge that the end of a particular road is not far away gives us a final push to reach a particular destination. Not much choice guides us in the initial and final steps of a journey. They are emotion-driven and almost instinctual. Where we find ourselves at our most raw, most pure, and the most perfectly human, is when the road behind us is long and the road ahead even further. When neither novelty nor accomplishment serve as crutches for high spirits, we discover what we are made of. Greatness is neither found in starting or ending a journey—it is found in the middle.
Greatness happens when the opportunity to coast, weaken efforts, or merely get by is flatly refused. It happens in finding opportunities to grow where most find excuses to let go. Greatness is great because it is not easy—there will be times along the road where you will not be great. You will be worn down, weathered, beaten, tested and tried, and given every excuse to give up. You will learn that people will accept if you quit. They expect and accept this because they would choose the same. You are allowed to quit because it is easy, and you will find that the only person that you have something to prove to is yourself. Greatness, when it comes, is recognizable because it is rare.
Whichever direction we choose, we will find that chance favors the bold—the ones that are not afraid of hearing “no” for an answer from themselves or from anyone else. The fact of the matter is that people will always tell us no and at times our own conscience will tempt us to give up. We cannot control others’ responses or reactions, but we can control which ones we will choose to believe. So we can spend our time looking for the next-best option, half-heartedly treading the roads of life, or we can spend our time living. Greatness is not the absence of mistake, but rather fully committing to the decisions we make and the roads we take, all the while knowing that even if we do not know where we are going, we are well on our way.