The Path You Probably Don’t Want to Take

walking a muddy path

You and I are on a path, a journey. We are headed somewhere. Perhaps you are an intentional person; you think about where you want to go and pursue that path diligently. Oh, sure, you get hit with setbacks and detours along the way. Who doesn’t? But you try to be relentless in pursuing your chosen path.

Maybe your life is not quite so planned. You tend to default to taking life as it comes. You resist setting goals and prefer to stay “in the moment” and let life come to you.  You value spontaneity and flexibility over schedules and plans.

Regardless of how you approach life, relationships, business, you are still journeying through it. You are on a path.

So what’s the path you might want to avoid?

It’s the path of least resistance. Now sometimes, the easy way, the obvious way, is the best way forward. But that’s usually not the case.  Like it or not, the way we get ahead in life, the way we deal with life, is through resistance.

Planes prefer to take-off and land heading into the wind, not with the wind behind them. Why? The resistance of air flowing faster over the top of the plane’s wing than the air flowing under the wing creates lift causing the aircraft to fly.

If you spend any time in the gym, you understand that you have to endure resistance to gain strength and build muscle. You have to lift a weight or stretch a band that is pulling against you. We exist in an atmosphere that provides a constant resistance known as gravity that holds us down. All movement forward, whether on a bicycle or a car, is moving against the resistance of that gravitational pull.

A downfall of organizations such as a corporation, a church, a school, or a nonprofit, is when the gifted, strong leader who built and leads the organization is surrounded by people who only agree with that leader.

They become “yes men” (or women) who always agree with the boss, whether out of fear or a desire to kiss up.  They are great at providing affirmation — a needed trait.  But there’s no resistance – no one to question the status quo or to appropriately challenge the leader’s direction.

Great leaders know that they need to be challenged, questioned. They rely on critical thinking, the outside, and sometimes contrary perspectives to make the best decision.  When leaders surround themselves with people who agree with them, something is lost. Blind spots become acceptable. Innovation takes a back seat to preserve the status quo because it is good; it’s comfortable.

Take some time to ask yourself, “Do I have people in my life, on my team who will provide resistance when it’s needed? Am I creating a culture, an atmosphere that celebrates even rewards speaking up, thinking differently, and challenging the status quo?” If you don’t like the answer, make the decision today to change some things.  Add some resistance to your life. That’s a path that can lead to greatness!

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