Thoughts on Life & Leadership

A Junto Strategy Project

Life’s Cow Paths

Last week my wife and I had the chance to do a business trip back in Cincinnati. We lived in Cincinnati from a couple of years when I was working for P&G.

Coming from Utah, one of the first things we noticed was that the road system was a lot different. In Utah it is all about the grids or a grid system. Make the roads straight, wide and long. Cincinnati, on the other hand, had a road system that as one of our Cincinnati friends put it was created by “paving the cow paths.” The roads were narrow and winding, and often changed names as you moved through different areas.

two roads divergedAs my wife and I drove the “paved cow paths” last week, the comparison struck me as a metaphor for my life. So often, I want Utah roads: long, straight, wide, predictable. But life is much more like the cow paths: winding, narrow, and ever changing. As time moves on, however, I am becoming much more grateful for the cow paths. While at times the narrowness and lack of predictability have been difficult and hard to manage, these same roads have afforded me many experiences, friendships, and opportunities that I never would have had with a more predictable path.

This trip was a good reminder that in my desires to have more safety, security and predictability, I need to be careful that I don’t create a path so wide and straight that I eliminate the other roads that may have been far more beneficial to my spiritual, mental, and financial well-being. Much like Robert Frost’s poem “The Road not Taken” life offers two paths. For my part, I have found that life is much better lived taking the cow paths.

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