Recently, I read a blog written by the editor of Success Magazine editor, Darren Hardy, and it really made me think. I would like to share the article with you here and give you a few thoughts about what he said.
Garth Brooks had a song in the 1990’s called “Sometimes You Got to Go Against the Grain.” How true that is. I like to pride myself on the fact that in my life, I am a person who is not afraid to do something different from what those around me do. But is this really true? I know that sometimes in my life, I find myself getting lazy, and it just seems like the path of least resistance would just be so much easier so I take the easy path. You know what, I am right, it is easier. Sometimes when I am really busy with stuff going on in my life, I tend to focus my energy on the things I see as being most important at the time and just sliding by on other things. I am choosing to take the easier path with those other things.
Clearly, if I want my life to have significance, I can’t settle with just taking the easy road. If I want to achieve true success in my life, the easier decision is not going to get me there. So what is the answer? How do I keep from taking the easy path? It is as simple as this: I need to make a decision. I’m not talking about the little decisions that fill every day of our lives. I am talking about one big decision. A decision that will be above all the other decisions I make in my life. This one big decision will then govern all the smaller decisions I make in life.
What should this decision be? I can’t say for sure what it should be for you. It is different for every person. I can tell you what my decision is. My decision is as follows:
Each day I will work to improve myself as a person so that I can more fully live out the plan God has for my life.
It is a pretty broad decision, but it is also a very big decision. A decision like this can’t be made lightly. By making this decision in my life, I am setting myself up to go against what a lot of people around me might be doing. I am setting myself up for judgement by others if I ever fail at times. It is a decision that will require lots of work on my part.
Some people would say, “That’s great that you are setting a nice lofty decision like that, but aren’t you setting yourself up for failure?” My answer to that would be, no. Will there be times when I make a decision that don’t follow my big decision? Of course there will be. We as humans can never make the right decisions all the time and I am not immune to that.
When I find that I have made a decision that is counter to my big decision, it is not time to give up. I just look at my big decision and keep working towards it. Maybe next time when I am faced with a similar decision, I will make a decision that follows the big decision.
The focus should not be on making the right decision every time. By having a defined big decision you stand for in your life, it stands as a benchmark. Something you can look at off in the distance. It is not something I will ever ultimately achieve during my life on this earth, but that decision will keep me on course to have the type of life that I, and in this case God, want for me to have. It is not reaching the endpoint that matters, it is what is done along the journey that counts.
There will be times in our lives when life happens. When things in your life don’t go as planned. When life makes funny turns that you had not anticipated. Times when life hits you full force. When life happens, going back to your big decision and being steadfast with it will keep you on course.
If you have never taken the time to actually create a defined big decision in your life, I would like to encourage you to do this. Really give it some thought. Write it on a little notecard and put it on the mirror of your bathroom. Somewhere where you will see it everyday. Make the decision to make a decision that will set the course of your life to have the type of life you were meant to have.
I would like to leave you with this poem. It is a well-known poem written by Robert Frost long ago. I think it is very symbolic of what we are talking about.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
Take the Path of MOST Resistance
by Darren Hardy
In The Compound Effect, I explain how the results in your life are rooted in one single factor—your choices.
Like it or not, good or bad, your accumulated choices have added up to your current waistline, business success, relationship strength and bank balance.
Your choices created your problems and the only way out of them is to start, and stick to, making new choices.
But then you ask, How do I know what the right choices are?
Here’s a simple formula:
When in doubt, choose the harder task or what you don’t want to do—that’s usually exactly what you should do. Take the path of MOST resistance.
Put it this way: If you are disappointed in any area of your life, whatever choices you have been making aren’t working.
Definition of insanity:
Doing the same things you’ve always done and expecting different results.
Here is the force you are fighting: You and your brain are creatures of habit. You simply talk yourself into taking the easy, low resistance and comfortable route. Like the pull of a rushing river, your unconscious habits continue to take you downstream in the wrong direction. To change your direction you will need to swim upstream, against the resistance of the rushing river, against your habitual tendency.
- Going along with the gossip
- Surrendering to peer pressure
- Saying yes to needless obligations
- Submitting to the crying demands of your children
- Starting your new program on “Monday” (instead of today)
- Reacting in anger
- Holding a grudge
- Giving the ‘silent treatment’
- Going to the gym when you don’t feel like it
- Forgiving someone who wronged you
- Feeling the fear and doing it anyway
- Admitting you were wrong and apologizing
- Ordering the salad when you want the burger
- Saying no to (yet another) shot of tequila
- Calling that big, scary big prospect (again and again)
If you want to finally obtain what’s missing from your life, you need to stop always doing what you feel like doing and start doing the things that make you uncomfortable, the stuff you avoid, and the things that you think are hard.
If you dedicate yourself to only doing the things you don’t want to do, all day long, your results would shock and amaze you and everyone around you.
Make a list of the things you avoid, postpone and hate doing, but you know you should. If you attack those today, your life will change. What’s uncomfortable is good. It only feels wrong at the start because you have an automatic bias toward the easy. Fight that tendency. Swim upstream. Take the path of most resistance.