One of the things that has been prevalent with my mindset since moving to San Francisco has been following the path of least resistance.
However when I tell people about this, it’s often interpreted that I’m not exerting an excessive amount of effort to make something work or persisting with anything in particular. But following the path of least resistance isn’t as simple as people think.
At first impressions it seems that this sounds like one is being lazy, complacent and blasé. It sounds easy in fact – just wake up and see where the day takes you. But is it?
Well we’re always taught that the things in life worth having often take considerable effort. Whether it’s world peace to getting a fitter body, we are sold that these things are a struggle and without them, we can’t have the reward. It also suggests as a dichotomy that things that come easily to us must be scrutinised and treated with suspicion.
It’s an over-simplified and archaic response to understanding achievement.
As a result we have a love/hate relationship with following the path of least resistance. On one hand we’re taught to fight for what we believe in whilst on the other ‘letting go of things beyond our control’. Oh dear which one do you choose?
The path of least resistance is about setting your eye on a prize and finding the easiest path to realising it. You add in some filters along the way to guide you with morals, ethics, laws and principles, resources, emotions, physicality, experience, knowledge etc and thus you start to create a map.
Some people don’t have or care for many of these so their map is a pretty straight line. For others achievers, they remove many distractions and barriers along the way to ensure the quickest possible path even if that means sacrificing some enjoyment. Some choose the scenic route even if it means they may never arrive and then there’s a big group who prefer to just stay home because it looks daunting.
Along the way shit happens and it’s best to take it with a grain of salt. Obviously that’s not always the case and there will always be a couple happily chatting in one car whilst the couple in the next are screaming at each other.
If you need a detour, you may get to discover a new path. If you hit traffic and it makes you late, just call up to explain and enjoy the music – after all you can’t control it. If you feel like stopping for fresh strawberries by the road side, just maybe you’ll discover something new that you can share with others to en-richen their journey.
The path of least resistance is about doing what makes you feel happiest to achieve your goal. Not what that guy over there thinks or what everyone else has done before you. Besides perhaps you’re innovating rather than following and we both know you rarely innovate if you walk the same beaten path as everyone else. Sure everything has consequences but considering you’re the one that has to live with them, it seems fair that you get to choose the path you can live with.
The path of least resistance is different for each of us so when someone is in your ear about your idea sounding too hard or too easy, that’s just their opinion and not necessarily the reality for you. It’s just another perception.