The Path of Most Resistance- Why I choose it
Today’s post is about me, and it’s about you. It’s about why most people never scratch the surface of their potential. With all the focus on comfort and convenience, I show you why I choose the path of most resistance instead.
I started practicing traditional ITF Taekwon-Do in 1982. The reasons why I started training then are less important for our discussion today than what has kept me training until this day. I love traditional martial arts because they are difficult and uncomfortable. In 1988, I began lifting weights in my garage. The original goal of lifting was to change my body. I still lift today but for a different reason- it is a grind and it is uncomfortable.
Exercise and sports science were next in my path back in 1995. My reason for study at the time was interest. Now, I still spend thousands of dollars every year taking courses and feeding my hunger for knowledge. I do it because I hunger to learn the unknown, and yes, it is uncomfortable. I take cold showers at the end of each day, following my regular shower. I focus on breathing and enduring, I do this, and it is very uncomfortable. Yet, I find it gratifying.
I do all of these things each day, and more, with purpose. You see, difficult things are stressful. And stress can be either good or bad. Eating crappy food is stress. Staying up late and drinking alcohol is stress. Smoking is stress. Overthinking things which you have no control over is stress. Watching too much TV and spending too much time on social media is stress. All of those are examples of DISTRESS.
So what is Eustress, exactly?
Cold showers, learning new physical skills, practicing skills over and over, physically challenging yourself, expanding you mind and understanding, and exposing yourself to uncomfortable conditions within the realm of your control is EUSTRESS.
Eustress is a form of stress inoculation that has a huge payoff. It changes your mind, develops your body, and it enhances your understanding and interaction with others. It leaves you open minded to new information and other viewpoints. Furthermore, it makes you aware that the best things in life can be challenging to attain, so you need to learn to embrace the process. The Navy SEALS say “Embrace the suck”. It’s the secret to enduring their training. It also explains how they can make split second, life or death decisions consistently and effectively.
Here’s the reality, though. Most people will avoid or do the minimum necessary to avoid discomfort. Rather than “embrace the suck”, they instead indulge in behaviors that provide instant gratification. The problem here is that, generally, the payoff for most things comes down the road. Immediacy is a trap that leads to failure, while embracing the process and performing activities that are uncomfortable for the long term lead to real change and success.
If you desire real and sustainable growth within yourself, you’ll need to start making yourself uncomfortable. There are many ways to do it. I suggest a bunch in my book BECOMING VITRUVIAN MAN. Rather that taking the path of least resistance, take the path of most resistance. It will change your life.