The Path of Least Resistance

“The human psyche follows the course of least resistance” – Malcolm Gladwell

When given the option of two choices, it is a common human fallacy to pursue the easier option. This bias towards inaction has its roots in our evolutionary psychology, the world we evolved from was a world of scarcity, of food, shelter and mates. Today in our modern world we live in an abundance of all three of these things but yet our bodies still harken back to the past.

The problem with taking the path less travelled is that it is harder. Our brains like habit, they like monotony – it conserves glucose and energy for when we ‘really’ need it. But in order to be successful sometimes you need to take the harder choice, have a bias for action. I realised that just reading numerous books wasn’t going to get me anywhere, I had to apply the knowledge I had garnered from these sources. My brain had tricked me into thinking that just by reading I was taking action. But I wasn’t! I was just reading pages off a book, mindlessly, just like if I had been watching TV or listening to music.

Every morning before I sit down and write these posts I think “Should I bother, it’s so uncomfortable to write these.” But then I ask myself 3 questions:

“Will this kill me?”

“Will this improve me?”

“Why am I not doing this already then?”

Even though your emotional brain may tell you how you should view the world, you need to consciously think it through with your logical side. A path of action that may have helped your ancestors 10,000 years may not help you in this modern concrete jungle.

At the end of every one of his podcasts, Lewis Howes asks every one of his guests: “What is your definition of greatness?”

An answer that has stuck me for the longest time, and one that particularly resonates with me was: “Doing the things everyone knows they should do but aren’t doing.”


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