Do you ever experience a subtle rage building in you when someone offers highly recommended best practices that are proven effective and ideal for your particular challenge? If so, do you smile politely and imply you’ll give it a try? Or do you roll your eyes, ignore it and vent about the unappreciated advice?
SOMETIMES RECOMMENDATIONS ARE GREAT!
Yes, at times you need a new awareness, an additional insight, and crucial information to move you toward your aspirations. When that’s your need, you can rejoice that you have arrived to the planet at the right time.
Our world is awash in fabulous ideas and high-quality information from multiple perspectives on every subject you can imagine. All readily available in books, articles, blogs, podcasts, and videos. Many quickly delivered to your email if you like (or even if you don’t like).
When you’re eager to learn something new, the challenge feels less daunting. At that stage simply search, compile, consume, sift and sort. Enjoy discovering what resonates with and works for you.
I GOT IT! BUT . . .
On the other hand, what do you do when you’re already keenly aware of what you want and need to do, yet you’re not taking any action? You already have plenty of information and recommendations. You’ve heard the success stories and you’re ready for similar results. You may even already fully embrace the wisdom of all the great ideas. Yet, you’re still stuck!
What do you do when you know what to do but resist doing it? You resist the recommendations or at least the implication of applying the recommendations. You resist when that requires letting go of the familiar and comfortable. You resist when new ideas evoke doubt and anxiety. You resist as fear shouts from within you to stay your course and not risk becoming a fool or failing miserably before your colleagues.
NOT THE TIME FOR “HOW-TO STRATEGIES”
If others’ recommendations, success stories, and best practices trigger a negative reaction, then how-to strategies aren’t your pressing need now. You don’t melt resistance by hammering home the ideal approach or dwelling on the proven ways of those who’ve mastered your challenge. If these inspire you, wonderful! Yet, if you’re inspired by them, you’re probably not resisting.
YOU KNOW YOU’RE NOT READY WHEN . . .
- When your approach to sparking energy and focus means waiting until the last minute to write anything, a recommendation to write two-hours daily on a long-term project is a leap too far to make.
- When you spend all your professional time preparing for a new course because you never feel ready, the recommendation to limit your preparation to an hour or two seems unattainable and potentially disastrous for the course.
- When you respond to email continually throughout the day, replying as requests arrive, the recommendation to check email only twice a day evokes great anxiety and feels a bit reckless.
- When you pour all your energy into your administrative responsibilities because you believe without your long hours of effort things would fall apart, the recommendation that you devote more time to your research seems impossible and only piles on more pressure.
Regardless of what or how you’re resisting, regardless of how you’re justifying your resistance, embrace the wisdom of nature, water, gravity, and electricity—choose the path of least resistance.
- Navigate around existing obstacles rather than trying to confront them head on.
- Ease up on the self-criticism.
- Extend some compassion to yourself.
- Create some momentum in your desired direction before you expect yourself to act.
- Find the easiest first step.
YOUR PATH WILL BE LIKE NO OTHER
Recognize that the path of least resistance is highly individual. You are the only one who knows it and can take it. You will recognize it because it feels better than where you are and it doesn’t feel as difficult as all the recommended practices, which you hope to eventually make your own.
IGNORE THE NAYSAYERS
Some mistakenly demean this path because they’ve associated it with corruption and laziness. But you need be neither corrupt nor lazy to choose this wise route when you’re stuck and failing to act on dreams and goals that are all about your contribution and self-actualization. Be wary of others’ shoulds and expectations when you find these pulling you astray or judging you.
THIS PATH ISN’T INTENDED TO BE PRETTY
The path of least resistance, however, is never ideal. It’s often littered with highly unrecommended behaviors that others might criticize. Don’t worry. The early steps you take on the path of least resistance will not be the one you hold to or choose for the long term. After all, these are small steps and may initially look very similar to the ones you’re taking. The difference? Now you’re moving and not stuck!
PURPOSE OF THIS PATH?
Get you moving! The initial steps on the path of least resistance are intended to steer you toward your desired behavior and away from the stuck place. This path is designed to launch your momentum. But you don’t build momentum with only one step. You also don’t arrive at your destination on the first dozen steps nor perhaps even the first 100 steps. Don’t focus on the journey’s length. Each will unfold in its own time. Besides, your progress will accelerate at various stages as you continue forward.
What matters most is not what the first step is but rather that you take THE FIRST STEP. As you take one after another you will create needed momentum. You will create your path forward when you first choose the path of least resistance!