I recently heard a quote that struck a chord with me, so today, I'm dishing out a little inspiration! Pull up a chair, and let's have a chat. Today we're going to talk about the path of least resistance.
The other day, I was in a workout class, hating life and mentally cursing myself for being there (I'm not much of a natural exerciser. It takes lots of effort and mental pep-talk for me). Anyway, I digress! Back to that class. The instructor told us to watch our form. She said:
“Your body will naturally take the path of least resistance, which will most likely hurt you in the end.”
This really struck me. She didn't say it to be profound, and I'm guessing she didn't say it intending to change my life…but isn't it interesting how inspiration comes in the strangest ways? I thought about what she said and realized it's 100% true! So, today, I want to talk about it!
MY EXPERIENCE TAKING THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE
In high school, I did cheerleading pretty hard-core (as hardcore as a tiny town with only one high school could be…but I like to think I was pretty hard-core). One day we were practicing, and I did a front roll. Not a fancy one, mind you: a normal, any two-year-old-with-half-a-brain-can-do-this roll. I came out of it weird and slightly tweaked something in my back. From that day forward, my back always bugged me, just a touch.
From that point on, I would always change how I held myself in practice to avoid that annoying little tweak. I would lean this way slightly when catching girls in stunts, land differently when doing gymnastics, and even started sitting differently in class. Rather than fixing my problem, I found the easiest way for my body to ignore it so I could go about doing what I wanted to do.
As you can imagine, it didn't take long for serious issues to take place. I got a weird pinch in the back of my leg that I again ignored, allowing my body to find a new path of motion to avoid it. Unfortunately, the pinch got worse and worse (I didn't know it was related to that still annoying tweak in my back). And before I knew it, I was being rushed to emergency back surgery in Portland to avoid permanent paralysis to my right leg due to a severely ruptured L5 disc. I was only 16 years old.
By ignoring the source of the problem, avoiding the proper way of recovering from it, and allowing my body to find the path of least resistance, I forever injured myself. Though surgery pretty much fixed the damage I had done, it was expensive, burdensome, had a long, hard, painful recovery, and ruined my cheerleading career at the most crucial time. Not to mention that I will – for the rest of my life – have recurring issues, relapses, and injuries because I didn't nip my problem in the bud years ago.
HOW MANY TIMES DO WE ALL TAKE THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE?
Sometimes we choose the path of least resistance without thinking about it. But often, we choose the easy way without stopping, looking ahead, comparing it to the rough path, pulling out a map, and figuring out if it's truly the best path for us or not; if it will lead us to where we want to go if it's a short cut or a long route…and if it's actually as easy as it seems.
This photo struck me because it's REAL. It's a real snake, sure, but it's REAL LIFE. This (…gross, horrifying nightmarish…) little snake is taking the path that is already paved. He's following along, taking the “easy route,” if you will, without realizing that it's taking him longer to get to his destination and making the job much harder along the way! If he were to ignore the easy path and forge ahead on his own on top of the tiles rather than around them, he'd make a straight line and get there faster, with much less trouble.
REAL TALK: WE'RE ALL GUILTY OF IT
Eating out. Buying our kids too much for Christmas. Buying pre-frozen meals. Hiring someone to mow our lawns for us. Getting into debt rather than saving up for something. Giving our kids money for whatever they want. Shopping – grocery and otherwise – instead of making do with what we have. Paying people to do things for us that we can do for ourselves. Buying things we don't need but want. Ordering takeout. Pampering ourselves. Buying a new car, even though the one we have works fine. Vacations. Ignoring the real problems with our financial situation and choosing to feel the pain instead of facing the facts.
Many of these are good, common, normal things and lead to lots of instant happiness! However, for most of us, these are “the path of least resistance”-type things. We think they are making our lives easier and more enjoyable, and there's no doubt they are certainly enjoyable, but in the long run, they are most likely slowing us down and making our lives much harder in the end.
A CHALLENGE FOR YOU
I challenge you all to think about your path. Focus on the end goal, and work backward. Don't have an end goal? Set one. Where do you want to go? Why? How are you going to get there? Why? You need to know where you're headed so you can focus on the path it will take to get there.
Take a moment to think about what you're buying and why. Sometimes that two seconds of conscious decision-making is what will make the biggest difference in your life. Stop getting by, and start getting ahead.
Looking for more motivation or inspiration?
- Find out how I get motivated and STAY motivated.
- Learn how and why to start celebrating the small victories!
- Take our man in the mirror challenge and start focusing on positive self-talk.
For heaven's sake, stay away from snakes!