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Path of Least Resistance

thoughts Oct 24, 2023
The path of least resistance makes men and rivers go crooked.

What Henry David Thoreau (I don't think this is the exact quote but you get the point) was pointing towards here is that often the easier thing to do is also damaging in the long run. Like water, humans tend to "roll downhill" in that we are usually looking for an easier way, the least friction/confrontation/pain, to achieve what it is we want. It's why there are so many get-rich-quick schemes that people fall for. It's how they sold a million copies of 5-minute abs. Or that new weight loss supplement. You name it! But rarely do those things work or pay off as they insist.

I get it, you're busy. Life's hard. It's all too much. But recognize that it's in those little decisions that you impact that longer picture. A little while back we were reading about an embezzlement case where the executive had stolen millions of dollars. When Susie asked, "How does that happen?" I replied, "Likely about $50k at a time to start." You take a shortcut and swear it will be just this once. You'll cover it tomorrow, next week, or next month. Whatever. Then you take another because you've already done it once and convinced yourself it's okay. Before you know it, it's a big deal. Those small deviations lead to big impacts across time.

The quote reminds us that life's journey is not about taking the easiest route but about making choices that align with our values and long-term goals. Just as rivers meander when they follow the path of least resistance, we too can find ourselves veering off course if we consistently opt for what's comfortable and convenient. We have to dig in, do the work, and sweat through the boring and difficult pieces to get what we truly want. Life isn't meant to be easy. If it was, it would lose something in the flavor of winning and succeeding. We can also use that force multiplier in our favor - do the hard things right now, and keep doing them, so you get the outcome you truly want over time.

What choices are you making today that make sure you keep your path straight and hit what you're aiming for?