Let’s have a look at the things that can be limiting you moving forward, being positive, happy, grateful and being the best version of yourself. You might not have looked at life in this way, but many of us, if not all of us, are following the path of least resistance. This means that you choose to do what holds the least fear for you, you might be saying now I don’t feel fear or I am fearless which may be the case. But beneath the surface is the more complex and primitive parts of our mind they do operate on a different level to our conscious mind and sometimes we just haven’t stopped to see it this way.
The path of least resistance is a concept which is often used to describe why something or someone takes a given path, it is also used to describe certain human behaviours and habits. In these cases, resistance is often used as a metaphor for personal effort or confrontation; a person taking the path of least resistance avoids these. Here is an example, the water always flows downhill, regardless of whether it is briefly flowing uphill in the process to gain a lower final altitude of the downhill flow. For many of us, we are all doing the same following the easiest path in life, which may be fine for us or it might be limiting our lives or worst still it could be triggering anxiety and panic within us.
Welcome to this useless human condition, we often tend to do that which is easiest and then neglect the things which are best for us. Not only just the human brain but this is the most natural impulse, to take the easy route almost all the time until you think and act otherwise. Research shows our brains are wired to take the path of least resistance, which pushes us to act in this way and even tricks us into believing that this is the case. It’s easier to sit in front of the TV than to spend time reading books about becoming a better version of yourself. It’s easier to research and dream about starting a project than take even the smallest step to start the ball rolling. The path of least resistance is the safest, most comfortable and easiest path we can take but it can be limiting for us all. I love this quote by Henry Thoreau “The path of least resistance leads to crooked rivers and crooked men.” Because we end up bending from what we truly desire, making ourselves imbalanced and sometimes unhappy because of it.
How many of you have strived for a change in the direction in certain areas of your life, bad habits, eating problems, work issues, the way you relate to others, lack of self-care issues and even just the attitude and outlook you have about life? You may even succeed for a time, but lots of us will eventually find ourselves returning to those old negative behaviours and attitudes. This is because your life is determined, insofar as the law of nature for you to take the path of least resistance and this is not a great place to keep being led back to.
How can we be the best version of ourselves when we are compromising ourselves with the limitations of this pull of least resistance within us? Well, we can’t and to be frank, I think this way of living can make us feel unhappy and unfulfilled as well. As you limit yourself and the life you lead by being disconnected from what you truly want and even deserve in your life, too much compromise in life can leave a bitter taste. It’s time to start creating your life not just floating along on it feeling unfulfilled, it’s time to not make choices about what we don’t want but to choose to strive for what we truly want in life.
Now let’s be real with this, making changing in life and striving to achieve this will take effort and we may have to compromise to achieve what we truly desire. We may have to commit to lots of gym visits to become super fit, the gym visits are the secondary choice the primary choice is being fit. Don’t lose focus on the goals as this will not help and you will slip back into old ways. So, if you hate the gym you may never stay fit, learn to love the gym or just do another activity that you do like which will help you get the outcome you desire of being fit. This is often seen when losing weight, you get to that target weight, you then take your foot off the peddle and before you know it you are putting the weight back on again. This is because losing weight is not a path of least resistance, but staying at a comfortable target weight could be. What you need to do is keep validating the positive effects of being at your target weight so that the fear of putting the weight on again becomes the path of greater resistance. When you get to any goal in life then you need to move this into something you are grateful for. If those old habits try to sneak back in, you need to continue to reinforce how good you feel living life this way to embed your new patterns into your unconscious mind. The life we seek isn’t found by avoiding pain and staying safe. It comes from contentment in knowing you’ve pushed the limit and you’re doing exactly what you have to do to be better, regardless of the pain. Only against resistance in our lives can we grow and move forward.
It doesn’t mean every decision you take has to be the tough one. It means the path of least resistance shouldn’t be our default setting for making decisions but that taking action should be. Don’t choose to be average, push out of the restraints of restriction and the negative comfort zone you have been living in. Don’t play it safe your whole life. Many people obey all the rules and take comfort in this continuous fake security. They do what everyone else is doing, following the pack is the quickest route to an average life. The most successful people you admire won’t follow the path of least resistance, they welcome challenge and adversity. Getting comfortable with discomfort, and difficulty helps us to grow into the best version of ourselves.
If you want long-term success, stop avoiding what’s hard, and start to embrace it. If you’re truly pushing yourself to improve, accept you may feel uncomfortable and this is normal, just learn to love it. When you are challenged, you are asked to become more than you were. That means creating new perspectives, acquiring new skills and pushing boundaries. In other words, you have to expand your understanding to be able to overcome the obstacles facing you.
Start changing today by breaking out of those safe habits, reading that book you have been promising to do, booking the conference you have been putting off, sort out the difficult things in your life you have been avoiding. Take time to talk to new people, and express your opinions, it is time to step up, stop doing the same thing and get know who you are on a deeper level and what makes you happy. Sara x