The Path of Least Resistance

The trail of least resistance is an idea that is typically utilized in physics…however it’s additionally utilized in psychology when speaking about human nature. Let’s unpack it.

Some paths in life are inherently simpler to take than others. Why?

On this put up, we’ll discover the reply to that query, by wanting into an idea in physics referred to as the trail of least resistance

What’s the Path of Least Resistance?

In physics, the trail of least resistance is the best path for an object or entity to take when in movement. 

For instance, electrical present – like water flowing down a rocky incline – at all times tries to take the trail of least resistance. 

Whether it is impeded by plenty of completely different insulating supplies, it is going to naturally comply with the least insulating (i.e most conducting) one. If a conductive path exists, it is going to at all times select that path over all else.

The trail of least resistance is why individuals who stay in areas with excessive lightning strikes set up lightning rods of their houses. 

A lightning rod is a pointed metallic rod hooked up to the roof of a constructing.

Lightning rods work by intercepting lightning strikes and offering a secure and efficient path (a path of least resistance) that takes lightning’s dangerous electrical energy to floor.

Lightning would slightly movement by metallic than by you, so it retains you secure. 

In the same approach, when talking metaphorically, the trail of least resistance is the standard path that is designed to maintain individuals “secure and sound”, flowing with the established order. 

The Path of Least Resistance…from a Psychological Perspective 

Society trains us to comply with the trail of least resistance in our lives. 

The trail of least resistance can usually be described as: 

  • Go to high school for 18 years
  • Go to varsity or college for one more 4+ years 
  • Get a high-paying job and construct your profession
  • Get married and have youngsters 
  • Purchase a home 
  • Proceed the identical monotonous routine of maintaining with the Joneses and accumulating materials wealth till you retire and finally die 

That is the trail of least resistance as a result of it’s the path society prescribes to us. 

Should you do every little thing within the above guidelines, you’re usually thought-about profitable and can expertise the reward of your family and friends. 

Nevertheless, when you veer from the trail of least resistance (by maybe selecting to do one thing so simple as beginning a enterprise), you instantly step out of the realm of security and open your self as much as criticism and scrutiny

These rules really are the pillars that maintain up the system we stay in, whether or not we need to admit it or not. 

Should you’ve ever wished to go down a novel path in life, you realize what this seems like. 

Many first 12 months faculty college students wish to inform their dad and mom and household buddies that they do not truly need to pursue that profession in medication…however do not, as a result of they’re afraid of the frustration. 

Society loves you so long as you are doing what it desires you to do. However the second you determine to be completely different, you are in hassle…

The Path of Least Resistance…and Least Satisfaction

So it seems that the trail of least resistance is usually additionally the trail of least satisfaction

Why? As a result of though the motion is straightforward to take from a societal standpoint, it typically leads to inner disaster and a lack of self-identity. 

Even when you do give into the exterior strain to stay your life a sure approach, it will not be easy crusing, since you’ll should battle with cognitive dissonance – the sensation that you’ve got betrayed your private values.

That is why many individuals willingly disregard the trail of least resistance. 

They weigh the professionals and cons and determine that exterior resistance is a lesser evil than inner resistance. 

In different phrases, so long as they’re dwelling as much as their worth system and doing what makes them pleased, it does not matter whether or not they’re on the favored path or not. Assume: Ravenous Artist.

It does not even matter in the event that they get shunned. They’re pleased to comply with the trail much less traveled, as a result of for them the vacation spot is breathtakingly lovely. 

Extra Competitors on the Path of Least Resistance

Let’s swap gears a bit and speak about a totally completely different cause why the trail of least resistance shouldn’t be truly the best: as a result of it is the trail of best competitors. 

I’ve at all times been a giant believer in the concept in relation to goal-setting, there may be much less competitors on the high. 

Sure, greater targets typically are sometimes accompanied by much less competitors as a result of persons are too afraid to do the work and problem themselves. 

Tim Ferriss has talked about this idea earlier than – he as soon as set a problem for a bunch of school college students and supplied the reward of a round-trip ticket anyplace world wide, however since all of them overestimated the competitors, nobody even confirmed up…

For that reason, as Tim explains, doing the unrealistic can generally be simpler than doing the life like:

“99% of the world is satisfied they’re incapable of attaining nice issues, in order that they goal for the mediocre middle-ground. The extent of competitors is thus fiercest for “life like” targets, paradoxically making them essentially the most time- and energy-consuming.” 

Is not that attention-grabbing? 

Individuals suppose they’re taking the straightforward path, however it’s typically not as straightforward as they suppose. 

Because the saying goes, the fishing is finest the place the fewest go, and the collective concern of the unknown/unconventional makes it straightforward for individuals to hit house runs whereas everybody else is aiming for base hits.

To not point out the truth that greater targets might be extra motivating.

Give it some thought: the higher the payoff, the higher the trouble that you simply’re prepared to place in.  

Mediocre targets end in mediocre effort, as a result of when you fail, who cares anyway? 

That is why it is essential to set targets that scare you and excite you on the similar time. 

It jogs my memory of an superior quote by Jim Carrey: 

“You’ll be able to fail at what you do not need, so you could as nicely take an opportunity at doing what you like.”

Which Path Will You Select? 

So, the ultimate query left to ask is: Which path will you select? 

Will you select the trail of least resistance in your life and gently coast by till you understand that you’ve got been losing all of your time chasing different individuals’s targets? 

Or will you seize life by the horns and stay purposefully and intentionally, selecting the trail that aligns together with your values, whether or not or not it is in style one? 

That is in the end the choice that every of us has to make. 

The selections we make daily have a compound impact and push us farther from or nearer to society’s path of least resistance. 

It will not be straightforward.

It is by no means straightforward being completely different or receiving judgement from others.

However let me inform you, once you select the trail that comes with larger *calculated* danger and better reward, there is no wanting again…

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I am Christian Nnakuzierem Alozie (Kris Kuzie Alozie). A native of Eziama Nneato in Umunneochi LGA, Abia State, Nigeria. I am an inspirational writer and a motivational speaker. And above all, a lover of charity.

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