No. 1295



There is a path that many people take through life that, while appearing attractive at the time, ultimately leads to nowhere. I’m talking about the Path of Least Resistance.
Since making wise choices is what success is all about, it might be worth investing a little time to determine if you are on this path. In a general sense, the person who is on the Path of Least Resistance usually looks for the easy way, and if there is a short cut they will take it. From a psychological standpoint, there is a vast difference between looking for a better way and looking for an easy way. The person who looks for a better way is constantly moving forward in his or her development and will soon be regarded as a thinker and a person of great efficiency. On the other hand, the person who is always looking for an easy way will soon be labeled as lazy and also a person of compromise.
What appears on the surface to be only a minor thing can literally mean the difference between success and failure as a person. While I’ve been somewhat general here, what I’m really talking about is using our sixth sense as a way to determine the best course of action in any set of circumstances. In education, for example, the person who has an aptitude for math or science should not pursue a degree in psychology, social science or physical education. While this may make a person happy for the short term, in time when they come to realize what they gave up in terms of satisfaction, position and income, they will be very unhappy. Looking back, the decision to take the Path of Least Resistance is what made the difference.
Even more tragic are those people who took the Path of Least Resistance and they compromised still further by cheating. I’ve heard college students say they were forced to cheat, but don’t believe that for a moment. These people were influenced by someone around them or they simply made the choice to spend their time pursuing other interests until test time came and they were unprepared. Rather than taking the grade they had earned, they chose to cheat and then had to live with that knowledge for the rest of their lives. Hopefully you are reading what I am saying here loud and clear -- these people are where they are today because they chose the Path of Least Resistance. The reason I began with education is because this is the foundation for a successful life.
Now, if I could bring what I am saying a little closer to home, just think about where you are in this time of your life. If you are a student in school or college, realize that for the most part you will get out what you put in. In addition to their studies, even great athletes with tons of natural ability still have to pay the price in terms of time and preparation. The same is true for academics and the time and study it requires to prepare for a great career. If you are beyond this point in your life and you have a job or career, your rewards in terms of promotions, income and personal satisfaction will be in direct proportion to your commitment to be the best you can be. I can promise you that you won’t get there by taking the Path of Least Resistance.
For those of you who are retired, the principle is exactly the same. Your satisfaction and your rewards for all your activities will be determined by your contribution -- your service. Here is a final word, and I hope you will lodge it firmly in your subconscious mind. When it comes to making personal choices, don’t always take the Path of Least Resistance. Think about it and then do it the best way, even if it requires a little more time and work.
(Editor’s Note: Jim Davidson is an author, public speaker, syndicated columnist and Founder of the Bookcase for Every Child project. Since its inception in 1995, Jim’s column has been self-syndicated to over 375 newspapers in 35 states making it one of the most successful in the history of American journalism.)