Book Review: The Path of Least Resistance
Create the life you want
If you want to read a book that will challenge your core beliefs, consider reading “The Path of Least Resistance” by Robert Fritz.
Surprisingly, Robert Fritz is originally an artist by profession. He's a musician, filmmaker, and a teacher of musical composition. Robert takes the lessons learned about the creative process in the arts arena and brings it to everyday life. This book uses the "creative process" to show us how to create the life we want.
We have all heard of the phrase "the path of least resistance". It has been applied to energy structures to concepts of electrical resistance. It makes sense that all of nature (from simple cells to complex life forms) will find ways easiest to survive, obtain energy and move. As humans, we also tend to take the path of least resistance.
Robert Fritz compares the concept of "the path of least resistance" to that of a river. It has already determined the path of least resistance and flows. Its path can be changed, but requires work to change the underlying structures so that the river will flow down a different path.
The river analogy is broken down like this:
1. You are like a river. You go through life taking the path of least resistance.
2. The underlying structure of your life determines the path of least resistance.
3. It is possible to change those fundamental structures in your life, thus changing the path.
To sum up what the author seems to be saying is that if we want to create the life we want; we must set up structures in our lives so that the path of least resistance is where we really want to be.
The author goes over the concepts of "reactive-responsive orientation". This is about the belief that your circumstances are the driving force in your life, therefore you will either react or respond to it.
Unless you can operate in the creative process, you will continue to go back and forth in the reactive-responsive mode and never fully experience what you truly want in your life.
It is important to learn what the creative process is and what it is not. Expect to utilize actions to bring things into being for the creative process. Creating is not the same thing as solving problems. Problem solving involves actions which has something go away (the problem).
What are the steps one must take to create what we want?
1. Conceive the result you want to create. Start at the end.
2. It's important to know your current state right now. Be objective about your current situation.
3. Take action. To create is to invent. Realize that it may take some time to see what works from what doesn't work.
It's important that you focus on the results not the process. To know what you want is also about results. Knowing how to get there is about the process. "By keeping his focus on the result he wanted to create - an electric light - Edison was able to focus on the process toward a successful result." It's easy to get caught up in the process or the method and lose sight of the results of what you want.
One basic principle found throughout nature is this: tension seeks resolution. Tension systems can be as simple as asking a question. "How are you?, a simple question that begs for an answer. "Once a tension exists, the path of least resistance leads toward resolution."
Another interesting quote, "If you try to change your behavior without first changing the underlying structure causing that behavior, you will not succeed. Structure determines behavior, not the other way around."
Structural tension exists when we see the discrepancy between what we want to create versus our current situation now. This discrepancy creates an energy that you can use to your benefit when you seek resolution to go toward what it is you want in your life.
You can use the tension to propel you forward. "Once you establish structural tension, your natural tendency will be to generate actions in order to resolve the tension". "All of the actions you take to create your vision will help you move toward the result you want, including the ones that are not directly successful."
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