Curating Quotes

So for over one and a half month, I’ve been doing a lot of posting on my Instagram page (@kevlowco – please follow if you have not yet done so) as I committed to do so daily in order to practice the discipline and consistency of posting relevant, useful, inspirational materials. It’s been a very interesting experience because there’s just a continuous stream of ideas that comes along as I plan for the materials to put up.

Quite frankly, the topics I hope to share about keeps on coming because there’s just so much ideas surrounding thinking about the purpose we want to imbue in our work, and the overall ideas surrounding motivation, mindsets, and handling of difficult situations or challenges. The curation of quotes however, was more of a challenge as I often have to check the original author/speaker’s background and also appreciate better the context.

That is especially important because of how much I came to learn of the manner by which Robert Frost’ poem have been misinterpreted or misconstrued. There are many articles online about it covering the entire poem but I’ll just go on to talk about the last stanza:

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
 roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one that dared me to try,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost in The Road Not Taken

The common quote from the poem that talks about taking the road less traveled would be the last 3 lines in the stanza. But the truth is that nowhere in the poem did the road he ‘dared to try’ was one that was less taken (in fact in earlier stanzas he was rather ambiguous if at all that the conditions of the two roads was too much different, nor did he even suggest that they pointed to different destinations). The key context that perhaps was missed in people using the quote is the point that he said ‘I shall be telling this with a sigh / Somewhere ages and ages hence‘. He is imagining himself in the future, making this point with a sigh which could imply he has either regretted it or that he has suffered or wearied much through it. But he hasn’t lived through it yet – it could still be the well-worn road that was way too boring!

Either case, context is important and this message from Robert Frost is also a nuanced and subtle one that I would like to emphasize pertaining to the ‘wisdom of the world’. At the end of the day, it is up to us to write our own story and to interpret the outcomes of our actions – what intents they had been meant to serve in the first place and how does it look from the other end of the tunnel. Thanks for staying with my musing thus far. If there’s a message I want to leave with you, it would be for you to follow me on Instagram. Thank you!