What do you do when the unexpected happens? You had the perfect life path laid out ahead of you, and you realized it wasn’t going to be easy, but at least you knew where you were going and how to get there. And that summit would be glorious with the thrill of achievement.
But then the ground beneath you begins to crumble, and you discover that you can’t continue on this path. Well—you could continue, but you know deep in your bones that it’s not right. Maybe you discovered that the summit isn’t quite the paradise you imagined. Or maybe you realized that the bruises you’ll suffer along the way won’t outweigh the benefits of the climb.
Some people keep plodding forward even when all the signs tell them to change course. There’s this pervasive narrative saying that perseverance on its own is a virtue. Don’t give up. But should you keep driving if there’s a cliff up ahead?
Abandoning one goal for a more worthy one doesn’t mean your efforts were in vain. It doesn’t mean you should regret the work you put into it. It simply means that you’re moving on.
Just because a certain path isn’t right for you now doesn’t mean it wasn’t the right decision in the past—only hindsight is 20/20. And if you berate yourself for going in the direction all your instincts pointed to, then you’ll be afraid to try anything new in the future. It’s okay to justify your past decisions even when they end up not working out. You learn what you can, and you move on to something better.
If you see life as a series of experiments to discover the best way for you to create meaning in the world, then you don’t have to feel guilty about changing trajectories. You’ll never figure out what you want just by sitting and meditating—you have to go out and do things. And then don’t be afraid to give up when it doesn’t work out.
You never know until you try. So go try something.