Think Twice Before Taking the Path of Least Resistance
Are you guilty of taking the path of least resistance? Sometimes, when things are not going as we wish, our tendency is to get upset and impatient. We know we cannot control the circumstances outside of us, but we try to do so anyway. Whether it is in our relationships, work, or play; most of us have tried to take the path that seems the easiest. We either give up or shun the hard work for something mediocre.
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Growing up as a teenager was tough. But, I was a fighter. I worked hard around the home and farm. I worked hard in school until I got to the third year in high school. At that point I was basically wandering with very little direction in my life. During this time, l felt lost, but I kept two things close; prayer and my vision of a successful life as a writer. It was this vision and my ability to pray that kept me going, even when I wanted to quit school. For me, the conditions for quitting school were conducive; limited parental guidance, poverty, and more people like me staying away from school. I could have taken the easiest way out and quit school, but I did not. Today, I want to share my views with you so that you would think twice before taking the path of least resistance.
Consider Your Options Before Taking the Path of Least Resistance
Taking the path that seems the easiest does not guarantee that things will work out fine for you. While it may seem less risky, it can very well turn out to be the most costly. Before you take the path of least resistance, consider your reasons for doing so. I present two options I had when making a decision, regarding my education, back in 2011.
Option 1: The Difficult Path
To bring out this point, I welcome you in to my life for a short moment. In early 2011 I found this great university, Walden University, of which I am an alumnus. I wanted to enroll in the master’s program, but I did not have a bachelor’s degree. After my nursing certificate was evaluated, I was told by my enrollment officer that I needed to do 5 prerequisite courses in order to qualify for this program. I had two options for accomplishing the process. One was doing all five courses at the university at the cost of over a thousand United States dollars for each of the first two courses. If I passed those two with a grade B or better, I would get to do the three remaining courses, for almost 50% discount each. I was also responsible for purchasing my text books, plush shipping them to where I lived. All in all, this sounded like impossible to me. I thought of the amount of money I needed to do this, my personal dedication of time and effort to ensure I obtained the grades, and meeting the stipulations in order to continue my advancement in the program.
Option 2: The Path Of Least Resistance
The second option was to do two of the courses on my own via another institution and once I passed them, with 50 % or better, I would be able to commence the other three courses. This seemed like the easiest path. The cost of the two exams were very cheap, I did not need to get the grades as in option one, and once I signed up for the courses I only needed a day in which to do them. I chose this option, ordered a few second-hand books, at some online stores (of which I only received one), and set my date for the exam. In a matter of weeks, I traveled to the destination and proceeded confidently to the exam room. My sole intention was smashing those exams and be done with it. I felt that I had studied enough about English and the Humanties.
Choosing this latter option, I got to I know more about the genius writer Charles Dickens, or painter Pablo Picasso, and other famous people from as far back as the 14th century. I knew more about them than the famous people in the 20th and 21st century. I felt great. I had new knowledge and I was itching to do my exam. But, I failed the exams, which were the main things I wanted to achieve, missing English by 2 marks and Humanities by twelve points.
Self-Reflection After Taking the Path of Least Resistance
Of course, I was disappointed. I had just wasted my precious time (or so I thought at the time, but no experience is a waste) memorizing the life of classical music composer Wolfgang Mozart and famous artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. I even fell in love with the painting of Mona Lisa, and traveled in my imagination to places such as Rome and Italy.
Eventually, I was zapped back to earth and forced to come to terms with the fact that I had to take the more difficult path…the path which I refused in the first place. After this temporary path of blissful imagination, I wallowed in self-pity. I replayed the scenario in my mind. Then, I forgave myself for ever thinking that my brilliant brain could pull off a rendition, in the form of an exam, as beautiful as the music done by Mozart in his short life.
This experience, while informative in terms of what I learned, also taught me that just because the way seems easier it does not necessarily mean it is the best approach. Sometimes, the best path to take is the path that takes time to reach our goals. The difficult path, unlike the path of least resistance, involves a slower growth for successful outcomes. It is a path which requires that we put in maximum effort for maximum results. But once, achieved, the rewards are great for those who were brave enough to take the more difficult path.
Knowing When to Choose the Path of Least Resistance
There are times when the path of least resistance may not be as dramatic as my experience above. However, you will need to carefully analyze all of the details before making such a decision. When in doubt, I always try to stick to the path which seems more challenging. I take the path of least resistance when the consequences are not severe. For example, if I am feeling tired or in a hurry, instead of buying fresh bread at my favorite supermarket, I might go to the most convenient supermarket, even if the bread is not always as fresh. Although there is a chance that the bread might be stale, more than likely, there will be no great consequences for eating it…except for minor assault to my taste buds and palate.
Be Positive, Even if the Path You Chose Didn’t Work Out
Even if things do not work out the way you would like, it does not mean that it is the end. Sometime, mistakes are stumbling blocks meant to give us direction in life. I did not pass those two tests, but I never saw myself as a failure. Instead, I reflected on where I went wrong and learned from my lessons. After the disappointment disappeared, I patted myself on the back for meeting all these talented people and learning about their work, even if was only in my dreams.
Although your natural tendency might be to take the easier road in life, always think carefully before doing so. Life is about being able to encounter and overcome challenges. Always settling for the easiest way out will not help you build the character that you need. If you have been running from difficult situations, you might never know what it feels like to really feel victorious. And, your true strength will never be tested when you run away from every challenge which comes your way. Today, I challenge you, the the next situation which arises in your life, to think twice before taking the path of least resistance and do something challenging for a change.
Do you have any life situations where you took the difficult path or the path of least resistance? If so, I’d love to hear from you in the comments’ section below.