The Wrong Way: Easier Paths Toward A Dead End (Plus: The Four Laws of Ecology)

wrong way

“And in response to people that say, “You can’t go back…. well, what happens if get to the cliff and you take one step forward or you do 180 degree turn and take one step forward. Which way are you going? Which is progress?

Doug Tompkins from 180° South

The wrong way to wake up is despising the long day ahead of you. Finding the right path means the days will seem shorter and yet, you will wish they were longer.

The wrong way to shower is forgetting to appreciate the luxury of hot running water at your fingertips. Centuries ago, this technology didn’t exist. Even today, billions of people around the world live without access to clean, running water.

The wrong way to walk is methodically. Run, jump, skip, and move. Make an effort to eliminate those barriers called shoes between your feet and the ground. Take them off, take each step lightly, and feel the ground beneath your feet. Nothing is more important than the ground, without it, we’d be falling through space.

The wrong way to drive is with the windows up and music blasting. Try something different today, roll the windows down, feel the breeze on your face, and try listening to an audio book for once, at least fifteen minutes, and then go back to blasting your music.

The wrong way to exercise is being careless. Start tracking your workouts, setting objectives, and work towards building a body that provides better functionality in real life.

The wrong way to eat is following the trend: the town’s most recent diet book, your favorite blogger, or your under-informed friend. These extreme forms of dieting are attempting to separate themselves from each other, in hopes of being the next big trend. The best diet is balanced and well-rounded. This includes all the food groups and yes, I am talking to all you paleoliths, vegans, and vegetarians.

The wrong way to live is without purpose never exploring your true potential. Following the sounds of other’s footsteps will leave you in their dust. Try writing a personal constitution.

The wrong way to think is without using reasonable judgment. Ignorance comes at us fast through the opinions of others; the arrogance of prideful men and women scared to admit they haven’t a clue about life can be seen in their conservative actions: ones we must educate ourselves to avoid if necessary.

The wrong way to make decisions is obvious and simple…. don’t. Others will gladly decide our fates if we let them. Decision-making was a medieval approach to problem-solving left to the bitter kings of the past. People forget the reasons we fought for democracy, to free ourselves from the control of others. Nowadays, kings hide-away in their corporate towers silently influencing the world, while we sit by thinking we have a say in the matters of freedom. Real freedom comes in the form of cooperation. We must learn to work together before we can achieve our cause.

The wrong way to travel is to read guidebooks and join a tour. Travel, the real adventure of traveling, is about getting lost, alone, and finding oneself. Oh, and always avoid the tourist traps.

The wrong way to be in conversation is sitting at half-attention, playing on your iPhone: texting, Facebooking, or video gaming. None of these activities can replace a real friend in the physical world.

During your next commute across the city, try and unplug yourself from the digital highway of entertainment and information at your fingertips. Escape from the attention grabing mindlock of apps and blogs and notice the world moving around you. You might even make a new friend.

The wrong way to breathe is mindless. Pause slightly between each breathe to experience a more mindful approach in appreciating the powerful process that keeps us alive.

They wrong way to meditate is sitting there, up against the wall, trying to think about nothing. You will find very quickly this is impossible. Stop worrying about if you are sitting in the correct lotus position and focus on your breathing: in breath, out breath. Try it 20 times slowly.

The wrong way to escape the world is by running away, abusing drugs or alcohol, or altogether quitting that project you’ve been working hard on. The bottle, the pill, the powder, and the smoke are not making your life easier. They conceal your true identity, a revelation that can only be reached in sober solitude.

The wrong way to educate yourself is believing the bias. People who want profit will tell you anything for a dollar. The current age of information is littered with misinformed, misguided, and uneducated people trying to make a living. Some are complete fools and others are truly good-hearted, both will make plenty of mistakes. Their difference remains in education; credentials don’t mean everything, but all those years of researching and writing papers in college must be worth something. Knowledge and wisdom are two different pedestals that a man can stand upon, an educated man learns to distinguish between both and balance one leg upon each.


The wrong way is always easier than the right way…at least at first. When the lies add up, when work becomes meaningless, when your relationships fail because watching television is easier than spending quality time with your loved ones, remember what path you choose to walk down. In the long run, walking the right way might be difficult at first, but eventually you get used to it.

It’s not always simple, generally it’s easier to make life more complicated and complex. The path to living a simple life takes patience, progress, and perseverance to overcome the obstacles before you.

Doing something the wrong way can having devastating results, now and later. When you reach a dead end, the only choice is to turn and walk the other way.

A step backwards can be forward progress.

I trust that you will find the right way.

If you listen closely, pay attention, and develop a little awareness you will notice that the right way has always been there, staring you down, slapping you in the face, and telling you to put your pride aside and walk the other way.

The wrong way is to continue ignoring the quiet voice that whispers the righteous way.

Try following it for a change.

“If you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, you are looking the wrong way.”

Barry Commoner

If you are unfamiliar with  Barry Commoner’s greatest gift to the world, The Four Laws of Ecology, I have listed them below. This is a theme that I have attempted to incorporate into many prior posts, as well as, the one above. I hope it is something you will keep in mind as you go about your day.

  1. Everything Is Connected to Everything Else.
  2. Everything Must Go Somewhere.
  3. Nature Knows Best.
  4. There Is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch.

For a more detailed explanation on Mr. Commoner’s Laws, I recommend reading the short explanation here.

Cheers to you finding the right path,