“The path of least resistance,” he answered. I felt a barely detectable bristle of judgment. I had asked my friend how he chose a particular career path. To his response I thought:
He must not have that much ambition.
He probably likes to stay where it’s comfortable.
I’ll bet he’s missed out on a lot of life.
I stepped on to the well-worn path of being wrong. My friend had a brilliant career, was dedicated to his community, and beloved by his family.
In the story I told about my own life achievements was my claim to taking the road less traveled. Within that story lies an arrogance that those who made a different choice were somehow less committed, less passionate, and very possibly just plain lazy.
I founded a law firm instead of joining one. At a time I was having a good measure of success in my first career I left it to start a new one most of my friends had never heard of. I have done a wheat grass juice fast for days and walked on a bed of hot coals a couple of times. Surely one had to take on resistance.
With this philosophy, I made my life harder than it needs to be while judging those who master ease. I went through life thinking things have to be hard to be meaningful, while judging people that take what I labeled the easy way out.
The truth is that the path of least resistance is really the path of least effort, which I’m trying to learn.
Acceptance. Rather than surrender to the reality which is before me, I routinely say, do, and think things I wish I didn’t. I have tried to change situations and people when in the moment acceptance would be best.
Responsibility. Instead of taking responsibility, blame is a beautiful go to. As long as I can blame someone else, I can ignore my own failings and postpone that which is mine to do. I miss opportunities that were right before me when I’m busy being a blamer.
Defenselessness. There is nothing like having spent most of your professional life as a litigator to teach you how to defend. In efforts to protect my ego, I’ve defended everything down to my choice of fish tacos for lunch.
To take the road less traveled does not mean it has to be hard every step of the way. No matter which route we take, we can begin to allow life to be a little bit easier. Not everything has to be a struggle.
To begin practicing, I’ll accept that, like all humans, I have thoughts that I don’t believe. Rather than blame myself for having a judgment, I’ll take responsibility for examining my thought. I will resist defending my “road less traveled” philosophy of life, and accept that more than one thing can be true.
What is yours to accept at this time?
Is there a responsibility for your to step up to?
Where have you been needlessly defensive?