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The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 4 million readers. As featured on: ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, TODAY, NPR, TIME, Forbes, The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and National Post. They live in Missoula, Montana.

The Right Path, Wrong Path, Left Path, and No Path

Whenever we fail to make a decision, we fail to grow.

As we approach each of life’s proverbial forks in the road, we are not faced merely with two potential courses of action; rather, as many as four choices appear in front of us at each fork.

The right path. Often the correct decision is glaring: the right path is illuminated, clear for miles, obvious to everyone. Whenever this is the case, seize the opportunity—take the right path.

The wrong path. There are some paths that are blatantly incorrect, filled with obstacles and venomous creatures lurking about. Avoid these routes, even when they appear to be beautiful, tantalizing, or easy.

The left path. Sometimes the fork presents two equally viable options: the right path is right, but so is the left—or maybe you cannot tell which path is correct. In these instances it is most important to simply pick either path, using all available relevant information, and keep moving forward. Even if we pick the wrong path, we grow from the failure.

No path. When we are faced with two unknown paths—left and right—we often freeze with indecision, stuck in our decision-making paralysis. This is the worst option of all: not deciding is always a bad decision.

Read this essay and 150 others in our new book, Essential.