Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas
Like water I take the path of least resistance. Unknown
Water is one of the most powerful forces on earth and it takes the path of least resistance.
Do we live our lives following the path of least resistance? I remember as kids in the spring we would make paths for the water to run off. If the water was running somewhere we didn’t want it to we would use a hoe and make a little path to get the water running where we wanted it to. This only works if where you don’t want the water to go is not already the lowest point. We know when dealing with water that water takes the path of least resistance and if we can engineer that path we can have water go where we want it.
I think I’ve adopted a path of least resistance in my writing. First thing in the morning I get up turn on my computer, put my dog outside, feed her, pour myself a cup of coffee, and sit down at my desk to write. On Mondays and Thursdays, I write a blog post, and the rest of the mornings I work on my second novel.
The resistance is how early I get up but I have an early bedtime of 10:00 pm so getting up at six is not unreasonable. When I write my blog I need to be sure to get up at six because I need all the time to write my blog. When it is my novel I can turn the alarm off – but I shouldn’t.
Robert Fritz’s book The Path of Least Resistance is about setting our life up for success. We don’t walk through walls or windows we have halls and corridors. If we walk in a forest there is usually a path and if we follow the path it is an easier walk than if we traverse through the forest without one. When we are at the mall and we see a huge escalator there is one for up and one for down. It might be possible to go up the down escalator but it would be tricky and dangerous.
My husband and I see plans for houses we think are not well planned. Instead of halls, you have to walk through a room to get somewhere. We looked at a small house where the bedrooms were located in the basement and to get to the backyard you had to go through one of the basement bedrooms. How frustrating would that be if it wasn’t your bedroom you had to walk through? What if you wanted to have friends over for a barbeque?
One of my sisters designs kitchens her job is not only to design a beautiful kitchen but a functional one. We want a kitchen where the flow makes working in it fun, not frustrating.
In his book, Robert Fritz talks about how some of us walk a circular path. We always start things but we come around to where we were without achieving them. This would be like living in a two-story house without a staircase to the second floor. We need to build a staircase to access our dreams and goals. When we can see the stairs we can start moving up them.
Why do we have lives without a staircase to our dreams and goals? Part of it is probably because our dreams and goals are on the second floor of our lives. We can’t touch them we only dream about them. We don’t see how to reach them. We are missing the stairs that connect our reality to the reality we want.
It is important to know where we want to go by setting goals. But, goals that are just floating in the air above us without a way to make them concrete in our lives are very frustrating. I remember when our house was being built my husband and I looked at the hole in the ground that would become our basement. It looked so small but eventually as we saw the house take shape and the partitions dividing the rooms were put in we had everything we were promised even though it didn’t look like that basement was big enough for the house we purchased.
If we want to do anything we need to be able to break it down into sizable chunks of actions we can take. We need to know which actions need to be taken first, which actions should follow, and if we follow the steps taking each action and doing what is needed we will arrive at a place where we have completed that goal. Often completing one-goal leads to the setting of another goal. Sitting down every day and writing will accumulate words on a computer. Eventually, we will have the accumulated number of words we set as our goal.
We can pat ourselves on the back but all we have is an accumulation of words. There are new goals to be set. There are new steps to be taken but we have accomplished one goal. We need to make sure our goals are broken down into small enough steps that we can see when we have finished that goal. We could write and write every day forever accumulating words without asking our self what we are going to do with them. Sometimes the goal is only to write. If we keep a journal the goal is to write in our journal, to document our life, and to sort out our thoughts and feelings on paper.
We need to know what we want to do, we need to form a plan of action breaking our goal down into small steps, and then we have to take each of the steps. We will not do this perfectly, we may fail, but we need to pick ourselves up revise our plan, and keep going. Maybe we made our steps too big; we might need to adjust the size of our steps. Was our goal too small and we needed to set new goals? We may have a goal that seemed so important but a new bigger, better goal is taking its place. We may get back to that first goal later or maybe never. This too is part of life.
Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force. Lao Tzu
We may think we are always arriving back at where we started but maybe we are on a circular path that takes us up a steep path and our circular path is getting us where we need to go by a more scenic route. When we are driving up a mountain we don’t take steps, we take a circular route and though it is longer it gets us where we want to go.
When we evaluate our progress we need to make sure we are not too hard on ourselves. Are our expectations of where we should be reasonable? Have we made progress just not as much progress as we wanted? Did we face failure and the success is that we are not still wallowing in that failure? Are we comparing the best of someone else’s life to the worst of our own and feeling bad about our own?
We need to walk our own path, slay our own dragons, and climb our own mountains. The important things in life often don’t come with accolades. Plumbers have saved more lives than doctors. It is as creative to make a good soup as painting. Creating a family and raising the next generation is the most important role we take on, and we forget it at our peril.
Will we be like water and take the path of least resistance? Does this mean we cannot direct its path?
Taking the path of least resistance is always helpful and peaceful, which is always in line with your life’s purpose. If your current work area is different than your purpose then you will face extra challenges. Hina Hashmi
Any path will get you there – choose the path of least resistance and move foreward. Michael Eric Jones
There is no need to use force. Instead, create a path of least resistance, and gravity will do the rest. Michael Dunlap
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Path of Least Resistance: Learning to Become the Creative Force in Your Own Life Paperback – Illustrated, April 22 1989
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