The Road Less Traveled Book Summary - The Road Less Traveled Book explained in key points
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The Road Less Traveled summary

M. Scott Peck

A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth

4.2 (141 ratings)
18 mins
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    The Road Less Traveled
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    Having a better life starts with practicing self-discipline and developing the habit of delayed gratification.

    Let’s not mince words: life stinks. And the sooner you accept this, the better off you’ll be.

    But don’t despair. It’s just a simple fact of life that each day comes with the possibility of a new set of problems, and, once you recognize this, you’ll be on your way to having a solution for these problems.

    Most folks live with the delusion that life should be fair, pleasant or otherwise rosy. This outlook will only lead to disappointment. In contrast, understanding that life is inherently difficult will spur you to assemble the tools you’ll need to get by.

    Along with this healthy perspective, the best tools you can have are those that help you practice self-discipline; and the first tool is getting familiar with delayed gratification.

    No one likes to wait for something good when they could have it right away. Many of us would prefer to have dessert before dinner, and we tend to live our lives according to the same philosophy.

    This way of life could be called “play now, pay later,” and the people who practice it aren’t necessarily dumb. They’re the sort of intelligent people who nevertheless manage to get bad grades because they’d rather skip class and have fun than deal with the boring business of studying. To put it another way, they’re controlled by their impulses.

    Let’s say you struggle with procrastination. Who among us hasn’t tackled the easy work first and then spent the rest of the day struggling with the boring and difficult stuff?

    The author had a patient with this exact problem, and he advised her to start practicing delayed gratification by reversing her work habits.

    This meant bearing down and dealing with the difficult stuff first. So instead of facing one easy hour followed by six miserable hours of dragging her feet, she could have one miserable hour followed by the reward of six enjoyable hours.

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    What is The Road Less Traveled about?

    The Road Less Traveled (1978) is a personal and professional account of how you can live a more fulfilling life by practicing discipline and developing a better understanding of love, religion and grace. Certain pathways in life are less traveled because they’re more challenging, but, in this case, the path to enlightenment is also far more rewarding. Find out what steps you can take to grow and become a more balanced person.

    Best quote from The Road Less Traveled

    Delaying gratification is a process of scheduling the pain and pleasure of life...

    —M. Scott Peck
    example alt text

    Who should read The Road Less Traveled?

    • Readers interested in self-improvement
    • Students of psychology and religion
    • People seeking a fresh perspective on spiritual growth

    About the Author

    M. Scott Peck was a Harvard-educated psychiatrist who had his own private practice and years of experience in mental-health clinics before becoming a best-selling author. His writing is a unique combination of practical psychiatric experience and religious belief, and it has resonated with millions of people throughout the years. In 1983, he published People of the Lie, exploring the nature of evil in humanity. He died in 2005, at the age of 69.

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