If you have ever gone down the path less traveled, then you know while it may be rewarding, it is also faced with multiple challenges and problems, hence the reason it is less traveled than the beaten path. There are many reasons not to take the path less traveled, but the beaten path doesn’t look alluring to you either, so you “jump in with both feet” and head down the path less traveled.
By buying naked land, building an off-grid home, and starting a homestead, we are choosing to take the path less traveled. Along the way, we have come across a number of “well-meaning critics”.
These “well-meaning critics” are people that have your best interests at heart (whether it’s someone close to you or the stranger at the grocery store), but they ask a lot of “what ifs” which ultimately deflates your parachute because you don’t have the answer for everything.
Our guess is that many people quit this type of journey (one to get “free from the system” so to say), not because they can’t figure out how to build a house or grow their own food, but because of a lack of support. They probably quit because they run out of steam, feel beaten down by the system, feel beaten down by people that they should expect to support them and feel lonely or even rejected.
My goal with this post isn’t to focus on the negative… it’s to communicate why people say the things that they do. Chances are, your well-meaning critics love you, support you and want the best for you, but they are programmed to act otherwise.
Examples of “Well-Meaning Critics”
Just in case you aren’t familiar with the type of push back I’m talking about from your well-meaning critics, I’m going to share a real-life example as it pertains to our journey specifically.
Well-meaning critic: You’re going to live in a trailer? Does it have air conditioning?
Me: No, no air conditioning.
Well-meaning critic: Wow, that’s going to suck, you know.
Me: It won’t be that bad. It’s not very hot where we’re going, it’s temporary, and we need to start somewhere.
Well-meaning critic: Well, uhhh, (face is wincing in pain) yea, I don’t know about that. That’s going to be pretty miserable. Is there water on the property?
Me: No, not to start. We’ll drill a well eventually.
Well-meaning critic: So you’re going to have water trucked in then?
Me: Well, we will have water in our trailer, but yea we’ll look into getting a holding tank or something.
Well-meaning critic: Oh, yea that’s going to suck too. That is such a hassle.
Me: Not really, I mean I’m sure we won’t want to do it for the rest of our lives but it will be okay. We don’t have a problem camping with little water so I’m sure dealing with a holding tank temporarily won’t be a big problem.
Well-meaning critic: Are there other wells in the area? If so, how deep are they?
Me: Yea, most properties are on wells. Two properties close by have wells that are 300ft and 500ft deep that both put out a lot of water.
Well-meaning critic: Wow, that’s terrible. That’s a really deep well, you know. That’s going to cost you a lot of money.
Me: Eh, that’s not that bad for a well, and we don’t mind. If we have to drill more than once then it’s not really a problem either.
Well-meaning critic: You make your income on the internet, right?
Me: Yea, we have multiple online businesses that produce an income for us.
Well-meaning critic: What are you going to do if the internet goes down? Then you won’t be able to make an income anymore.
Me: I doubt the internet will go down anytime soon, but in the event it does, then everyone’s life will change, and I’d still rather live in a remote location than in a city. We would be able to adjust as we have a lot of skills and a great work ethic.
Well-meaning critic: Well, okay, but what if a nuclear bomb is dropped near you, what are you going to do?
Me: Hmm, I guess I’m not really sure. That doesn’t really seem to be something that any of us can really plan for unless we can somehow befriend someone that owns an underground tunnel which seems unlikely, so I guess we’ll hope that nothing like that happens to us.
The thing is… people like this think they are helping you by letting you know that there is a lot of work ahead, or that you might not find water on your property, or that there is a chance your homestead will catch on fire, or that there is a potential threat to your income stream.
The thing also is… you and I know that this type of feedback more often than not, deflates us, as we are already aware of the dozens if not hundreds of reasons why our plan may not work. It is hard because we don’t want to close ourselves off to the world, and push people away, but their good intentions of helping us succeed, or not fail at least, can rob us of energy.
So, let’s not focus on the negative, but maybe I can shed some light on why people respond in this matter when they love and support you, and ultimately what you can do about it to pursue your chosen path with strength and confidence. You may even be able to turn some of these “attacks” into great conversations and into an opportunity to build stronger relationships.
Programming: What The Government Wants People To Do
The answer, my friends, is programming. The government wants full-control over the people. The government wants people to be dependent, in-debt, corporations want the people working for them, the government and corporations don’t want the people to have freedom, and they will ensure the people are kept in their place through scare tactics so that they never get any crazy ideas to be free.
The way this is accomplished is through the media, especially television and the news.
The news is designed to create fear and overwhelm people to put them in a state of learned helplessness. It’s not just the news, it’s most all media. The news focuses on all the bad happenings in the world and makes examples out of people that are trying to free themselves from the system. The news plagues people with images of loss, death, war, natural disasters, cancer, bankruptcy, starvation, disease, the scary police, the scary IRS, foreclosure, and I’m sure you can think of more.
There’s an excellent documentary on this matter but after a quick search, I can’t seem to find it. Let me know if you know of the documentary so I can update the post!
In the end, people end up trying to run away from pain rather than running towards their dreams. This fearful programming is so strong, and makes us feel that one bad decision will ruin us, so we run around trying to avoiding pain, discomfort, failure and uncertainty at all costs.
People think that if they stick to the beaten path then they are reducing their risk. They are told that if they get a good job, buy a house, get into a 30-year mortgage, have a new car, put money into their 401ks, and enter the rat race, that they will live a risk-free life, never fail, and happily retire when they are 60 years old with not a financial care in the world. And this works out for some people, but not everyone, and not most people.
Not only are most people acting out of fear (I’m guilty of this as well at times), but society perceives failure as a bad thing. Nobody wants to “fail”, and nobody wants anybody they care about to “fail” either. I avoided taking risks most of my life and because of that, many things are difficult for me because I haven’t learned many hard lessons. Jesse on the other hand, started a business when he was 16 with an older business partner, made $50,000+ in a year while in high school, and then his business partner stole the money out of the bank account and was never to be seen or heard from again. He said it sucked and was disappointing, but 15 years later he is quite the avid businessman due to his “failures” in business. His motto is “fail as fast as you can” because the sooner you fail, the sooner you learn what not to do.
Most life lessons we learn through “failure” and experience, not by reading textbooks, and this is a good thing. When we “fail”, we give each other high fives because we took a calculated risk and it didn’t turn out as we had hoped, but at least we learned a lesson in some way or another and most importantly, took action.
This programming and fear is rampant in our society. If you look around, society is doing what they have been programmed to do and any people are acting out of fear. They believe they are safe and free from risk which couldn’t be further from the truth: Life is risky and we’re all going to die one day! There, I said it!
While the majority of society may not be truly happy, doesn’t like the rat race, or wish there was a better way, they won’t dare do anything different for fear of loss, instability, homelessness, starvation, poverty, disease, loneliness, rejection, and even death.
Now that you can hopefully understand the foundation of most people (maybe even yourself, it’s okay, we’ve all been programmed to some degree), let’s talk about why it’s hard for people to put this programming aside, even when it is destructive to your morale.
Why People Say The Things They Do
As I said, many of these well-meaning critics truly want the best for you. Chances are, you have even been someone’s well-meaning critic. Well-meaning critics want you to be healthy, secure, stable, and even happy. However, this fearful programming is so strong that they can’t get it out of their head and it is close to impossible to put aside.
When you start talking about taking the path less traveled and doing things unconventionally, it challenges the programming and makes people uncomfortable, if not terrified. The fear within people is so strong that you just talking about something that is supposed to be “scary” makes their heart rate increase. They are putting themselves in your shoes and feeling nothing but fear and a million reasons why if they were you, they wouldn’t proceed.
This is when irrational things start to come out. They try to find every conceivable hole in your plan so that you will see that it’s better to really just stay on the beaten path. If you haven’t seen The Village, I highly recommend you do so. In The Village, everyone talks about “the bad color” attracting evil, and by talking about the path less traveled you are talking about “the bad color”. Their job is to remind you that you are talking about or wearing “the bad color”, and discourage you from traveling into the woods where bad things happen and where the monsters live.
Even if logically these well-meaning critics know that you should do what makes you happy, that your plan seems somewhat logical, they can logically see why doing things the traditional way may not be the best either, and that what’s best for them is not necessarily what’s best for you, their fearful programming is too strong and takes over. They act and say things out of emotion and the primary emotion is fear… fear of loss, poverty, starvation, homelessness, disease, bankruptcy, being lonely, looking like a freak, being perceived as weird, the government, and death.
Don’t take it personal, because it’s not. These people either A) Really, really care about you, love you, want what’s best for you, want to be supportive and want to encourage you or B) Don’t know you at all, don’t care about you at all (think a short conversation with someone in line at the grocery store), yet the things you say still scare them so they start asking you the “what ifs” because if they were in your shoes, they would be scared shitless!
So again, let’s not focus on the negative. Most of us are good people with good intentions. But what can you do about it to keep your morale high?
How to Deflect These Comments: Using Aikido Methods
Way back in the day I took some Aikido lessons. Aikido focuses on “not on punching or kicking opponents, but rather on using their own energy to gain control of them or to throw them away from you”. If you fight back you will exhaust yourself and never win. Supposedly, using Aikido, a 100lb woman can protect herself from a 250lb man. Impressive, eh? I didn’t appreciate or enjoy Aikido lessons then, but I have a new appreciation for the art in my daily life.
Rather than seeing these well-meaning critics as opponents that are picking a fight with you and fighting back, you simply need to dodge and redirect the energy. Fighting back is pointless, and you don’t need to waste a tremendous amount of energy defending yourself because it won’t make them feel better, and it won’t make you feel better. It’s a lose lose situation.
You need to weigh each well-meaning critic individually. Some people really are genuinely interested in your journey and want to learn more because it’s so “out there” yet they are open minded enough to learn more. They may not know anything about living off the land, living off-grid, building a house from scratch, so naturally they will have A LOT of questions. Feel free to answer and educate, but not before assessing whether their energy is positive or negative.
If you feel that you are being attacked, then you may wish to respond differently based on the relationship of the person “attacking” you.
If it is someone important to you (like family or a close friend that you don’t wish to lose), then you may wish to explain to them how you feel. You may be able to say something like “I know I am taking the path less traveled and that there are a number of risks, and statistically I will fail and I’m okay with that. I know you support me and only want the best for me, but I would really appreciate encouragement rather than pointing out the negatives to me. I’m not upset, I still love you, I’m just saying this because I value you and want to keep our relationship as strong as possible”.
If the person isn’t close to you, then you really don’t need to defend yourself or even continue the conversation really. Just say the minimum you need to say to be social, or if you choose to continue the conversation then keep a watchful eye on your energy levels. Use it as an opportunity to observe the fear and discomfort, and know that you are transcending that to achieve your dreams in life, risks aside.
Surround Yourself With Like-Minded, Supportive People
On a journey such as this, surrounding yourself with like-minded people is critical. It’s great to have a group of people you can bounce ideas off of and people that won’t judge you when things don’t go according to plan. Some people you find may have already taken the journey, or will at least be further along, and can truly provide some great insight and helpful tips.
I am currently dabbling in and out of different communities to get a feel for things, but I’ll update this post of where I spend my digital social time which includes Facebook groups, Instagram, forums, and other blogs.
Our Favorite YouTube Videos & Documentaries
If you’d like to learn more on this subject and further understand why people do the things they do, and ultimately, how to not let the negativity of other people affect you, then here is a list of our favorite YouTube videos and documentaries on the subject. Watch at your own risk… some are lengthy and all are deep!
- The Village – I already linked to this, but this is a fantastic movie on human behavior. Don’t simply watch the movie, but try to find parallels with real life and your experiences with doing something other than what the norm does and expects of you. We were laughing the entire time at how true this movie is!
- The Matrix – I’m sure you have all seen this, but once you realize there is a different way of life, there is no looking at hte rest of the world in the same way again. We are reminded of themes in this movie in our lives daily.
- Wall-E – Hehe, ’nuff said. Disney, you’re such a dirty dog.
- The Mechanics of Mind Control – Joe Marshalla – This isn’t about the mind control conspiracy theory, it’s about having control over your mind. If you don’t have control of your mind, then someone else does. This is a 2-hour lecture by Joe Marshalla… it’s no easy listen, but it’s extremely thought-provoking and really explains the power of the mind.
- Investigating Human Behavior – Jacque Fesco – Jacque Fresco is the brain behind The Venus Project. All of his videos are great, but in this one he talks a lot about human behavior and how we are a result of our environment. It really helps convey why we all act the way we do.
Let me know what you think of this post! Did you enjoy this content? Do you feel it’s too “heavy”? Have you experienced similar things on your journey, life or way of thinking? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Let’s try to keep a positive-spin on the comments even though it’s a difficult subject
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