12 October 2017

crossroads_in_the_mountain photo credit (pirinmountain.wordpress.com)[https://pirinmountain.wordpress.com/2013/04/18/%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%80%D1%88%D1%80%D1%83%D1%82%D0%B8-%D0%B8-%D0%BA%D0%B0%D1%80%D1%82%D0%B8/]

I was talking to a friend of mine, catching up on what each of us has been doing, and we had an interesting observation about the role of crossroads in life.

My friend went on a multi-day hike, but as luck would have it, his tent broke after three days. This restricted his mobility and ability to go to more remote places, so instead, he went to a somewhat centrally located hut. The idea there was that from the hut, he can do day-hikes in multiple directions, and remain flexible in case the weather changes and he needs to change the planned route for the day.

The hut, being centrally located, and a popular destination of itself, is in a somewhat of a crossroad. There are several nice peaks next to it, a lake, and paths which go in all directions. It’s also really cozy inside, and it’s a favorite place for many to stay, with it’s warm carpet and traditional furnishings. It’s a place that invites you to stay longer.

It has a small capacity, and all the guests tend to meet each other. My friend met a traveling engineer, and she told him that she can fix his tent with duct tape. But neither of them had a duct tape with them. But as luck would have it, on the next day another tourist was passing by who did have duct tape. And so my friend got his tent fixed, and based on the new weather forecast picked a new route for the remainder of his trek.

My friend was lucky, that’s for sure, but he would’ve been less likely to be lucky if he wasn’t staying in a hut that was a crossroads hut. Crossroads provide more freedom, and tend to attract more people, resources and opportunities. In times of uncertainty, reflection or planning, it’s good to be at the crossroads, to be able to take advantage of these crossroads properties.

I think that trekking through the mountain is an interesting metaphor for life. Everyone’s going in different directions, and intends to climb different peaks or chill by different lakes. We go in groups, or by ourselves on our paths, and we all can experience good or bad luck at times. We start from different places and see the mountain and its beauty and ugliness from different angles. And each of us walks on their own pace.

As much as a mountain is a reasonable metaphor for life, we can transplant the idea of crossroads to our own personal journeys. A personal crossroad has ample freedom and opportunities. It’s a beneficial place to be, whenever we have uncertainty about our path, or we are missing some of the resources we need for our next goal and mission.

For a person who just graduated high school, an university can be that crossroad. There, the person can gather the “education” resource, and also meet people who have ventured in different directions, and hear from them about the possible goals in life. Other examples of abstract crossroads can be local and interest-based communities, conferences, and even physical cities - a less-abstract example of crossroads.

I think one common logical fallacy that some us may commit is to avoid these “crossroads”, because we’re so much in a hurry to climb a peak, that we go and suffer when our tent breaks and we get stuck in a thunderstorm when the weather forecast changes. Of course, the reverse fallacy of never venturing out is also common, but as a person, who’s interested in getting to different peaks, I’m less worried about it for myself, and therefore less interested in discussing it.

Creativity and entrepreneurship are about finding a good path to go, and abound with uncertainty. That uncertainty makes it beneficial to spend time at crossroads, when starting new creative projects, or pivoting a business idea.

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