Spaghetti or jollof rice? This question confronted me and my brother this morning. We contemplated what to have for breakfast.

Spaghetti was an easy choice because we have chicken soup. More so, we have to get some more ingredients to cook the jollof rice. But we’ve not had jollof rice in a long time.

So, we had to choose one or the other. In a moment, I’ll tell you what our final choice was and why.

Every day, we make several choices―some easy, some tough. We make choices by the minute, in fact.

We might like to think our decisions are random but that’s not true. Our decisions depend on various factors ranging from past experiences to individual differences (age and socioeconomic status). Share on X

Other factors include a variety of cognitive biases, personal preferences as well as an escalation of commitment and sunk outcomes.

The path of least resistance

But none of these factors is the focus of this piece. The factor I intend to bring to your attention is the amount of resistance.

The amount of resistance we have to overcome in following through with a choice usually informs our decision. We may not like to acknowledge it but it’s true. Share on X

Barring personal preferences, we’re wired to always choose the easiest route. In the words of Brian Tracy, the natural tendency of all human behaviour is toward the path of least resistance.

Naturally, most of us are wont to take the easy way out. We are quick to follow the tempting path of least resistance, opting for expediency over excellence.

We don’t write that potential bestseller or take that life-changing course. We refuse to take a risk and instead maintain the status quo.

We stay in that boring job and never launch that business or pursue new opportunities elsewhere. We refuse to make that leap and remain stuck in inertia.

We avoid confrontation and play it safe. We fail to demand change even when things are not working. We refuse to take steps that will cause us to grow.

Compromise: the least resistance path’s destination

The end result of this proclivity? We sell ourselves short. We do below our capacity. We go with the flow and never really accept accountability for our choices. By extension, we find no triumph in our victories and no remorse in our losses.

In his book on the subject, Robert Fritz writes, If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise. Share on X

You don’t want a compromise―at least, not when you could do better and be more. Why settle for less when you could have more?

Churchill believed victory will never be found in the path of least resistance. H. G. Wells also called it the path of the loser. Harsh words but no less true.

The path of least resistance rarely leads to anything new or exciting. It’s a mental rut already made. The good news is you can escape this mental rut. You can avoid settling for a mere compromise.

How to escape the path of least resistance

Start by making every decision conscientiously with the conviction that you are not just following the path of least resistance. Take more chances. Do what’s right even if it’s not popular. Share on X

Choose excellence over expediency. Go above and beyond in your duties, obligations and responsibilities. Refuse to be ordinary. Hold yourself to ridiculously high standards.

Never fear those mountains in the distance. Never settle for the path of least resistance. Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’. Lovin might be a mistake but it’s worth makin’. ― Lee Ann Womack

I’ll leave you with this quote I found somewhere online:

If you can run a gang, you can run a company. If you can write a rap, you can write a book. If you can film a street fight, you can shoot a movie. Don’t just take over the block, take over the world! Stop selling yourself short. Share on X

Oh! I almost forgot. Of course, we cooked a sumptuous meal of jollof rice.

If you find this post helpful, do well to leave a comment and share it with your friends, using any of the buttons below.