The rocket less travelled

I’ve been reading a lot on growth, opportunity, and risk. And as inspired as I feel by the classic authors and poets, I find myself disagreeing, no arguing with the modern quotes. One I read today says,

“If you are offered a seat on a rocketship, don’t ask which seat, just get on!”

Which is fucking awful advice.

It’s one thing to take the road less traveled because you always have the chance to turn back or go off the path entirely if you feel it harms you in any way; mind, body, or soul. You can travel any path at the rate that feels comfortable and stop to pause for reflection and to better understand something before moving on. If you’re wandering alone in the woods, it’s safe to assume you’re at least somewhat self sufficient, enough to know how to protect yourself in a harmful encounter.

But a rocketship? Oh you bet I’m going to ask questions! Where is it going? How long is it going to take? Is the craft properly designed to handle the stresses of extra-orbital travel? It’s there enough food for the trip, what about bathrooms? Am I going to have to sit in this chair the whole time like an international flight or is there a proper place to sleep? Do I need to tell my loved ones goodbye or will we be back in their lifetime?

I’m just saying, it loses the greater message, that you have to take risks in order to make any gains toward your goal. Small risks offer small rewards, big risks offer big reward. They also offer proportional failure and you accept to be prepared for acceptable loss (which is the message of abolishing perfectionism, but that’s a different rant). I feel these sort of “leap of faith” inspirationals forget the value of calculated risk. If Richard Branson offered me a ride on his rocketship, you bet I’m going to jump on. If Odessa Joe offered me a ride I’m going to at least inspect the ship before I commit.

Prince or Pauper though, I’m still going to ask the price to get on. And if that price harms my mind, body, or soul, then I’ll just keep on walking. I’ve always loved a good stroll through the woods anyway.

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