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Book Summary Notes
The Path of Least Resistance
“The greatest leaders and statesmen in history have not been problem solvers. They have been builders. They have been creators.”
Are you a problem solver or a creator?
Might sound like a weird question..
Problem solvers are generally admired and it's something people even put on their resume..
Here is the difference: we're not talking about the ability to solve problems here.. But the way that we approach life!
Kind of aimlessly walk down the path of life until they hit an obstacle..
Something they can't overcome or feel like is keeping them from moving forward!
They get around it, over it or move it.. Which is great! But creators do something different.
Creators walk purposefully down the path towards their desires..
They see ahead of them what might be in the way and prepare themselves to meet that challenge before it's necassary..
They approach life in a much more creative way rather than a 'hard work and sweat' way!
“The next time you’re in a building, notice how the structure of the building determines your path through it.”
Are you truly determining your own path?
Fritz shows us here that actually we're not..
- The big point here is that Structure determines Behavior!
- The hallways give you a path to walk, the stairwells are how you move up in the building..
This of course is true in a building but it's also true in our environment..
- Have a bunch of candy in your pantry? Likely you'll eat it..
- Working in a place full of distraction? Good luck getting anything done..
- House a mess? Good luck finding piece of mind..
What about our mental realities?
- Human's construct mental structures.. It's how we take our incredibly complex world and make it simple enough to live in!
- These structures might be something like: when I work hard good things happen, that is something I don't have control over, I can't do this because of that..
- Everyone has these! Most of them we picked up somewhere along the journey.. All of them were constructed because they were helpful at the time!
- But if we're not conscious of them we tend to use them in ways that hold us back! (That is really what this book is about).
“The structural conflict most common in everyone’s life is formed by two competing tension- resolution systems."
"One is based on your desire."
"The other is based on an incompatible dominant belief that you are not able to fulfill your desires.”
Remember the structures we talked about before?
Well it turns our.. Most people have what Fritz calls a structural conflict!
- Everyone has desires.. Something they want to create in their life!
- But.. Most of us also have a belief that we can't achieve that thing!
- (Sometimes picked up early in life as a defense mechanism).
You're in a the middle of a room..
The wall in front of you is your desires!
The wall behind you is your belief that you can't achieve those desires..
Both walls have a rubber band anchored to them and tied around your waist!
When you move towards your desires the tension between them and you (your desire) decreases..
While at the same time the tension between you and your belief that you can't achieve them gets stronger!
Wonder what happens? Of course we self sabotage, quit or find other reasons to stop pursuing the desires..
But then what happens? The tension reverses! And the cycle repeats..
Most people are in a constant battle between these two forces in their life!
Do you feel the tension?
- How about the repeating cycle?
- That is okay! Now we have awareness..
- Let's see what we can do about it!
“The discrepancy between what you want and what you currently have forms the most important structure in the creative process, that of structural tension.”
So we've got this concept of rubber bands..
Now let's talk about how we can use those elastic properties for our own benefits!
- First we need to anchor our desire rubber band to something BIG..
- The bigger the better as Fritz tells us here that the distance between us and our desires is the tension we need in order to achieve..
So when we're creating what we want..
- Keep in mind that no-tension is not a good place to be!
- Instead we want to be able to feel that distance between us and our goals..
Reading between the lines here but:
- I don't believe we need to make ourselves feel lacking, guilty or ashamed of where we are currently to get that tension..
- Instead I think we should focus on making our connection to our desires more concrete, deeper and more vivid in our minds!
- Don't worry about where you are right now worry about where the elastic is tied too and know that the power of structural tension will eventually get you there!
“Without making the fundamental choice to be the predominant creative force in your life, no matter what you do to attempt to benefit yourself or enhance your life, you will merely be finding more sophisticated ways of responding to circumstances.”
Remember that rubber band holding you back?
The one that says things like:
- There is no way you can do this because people like you, from where you're from with your level of intelligence can't do it..
- The system just isn't set up in a way for you to do what you want to do..
Well.. We can make our desires as clear, vivid and compelling as ever and not still not escape that elastic band!
- Remember the closer we get to our desires the weaker their pull is and the stronger the pull of this inner saboteur is!
- Instead of focusing all our mind on the desires.. Let's take a minute and look at the other band!
Fritz tells us we can make one choice and release that elastic band pulling us back:
- “This one fundamental choice—to be the predominant creative force in your life—is a foundation for the entire orientation of the creative. From this choice the meaning of the word desire changes for you, from ‘idle wishes and hopes’ to ‘true vision of that which is the highest in human aspiration and vision.’”
- That is it! We need to shift from being the victim of our circumstances to being the creator of our lives..
- Desires then become a true vision of our highest aspiration vs just hopes and dreams!
“A primary choice is about some result you want in itself and for itself."
"It functions as the ultimate goal."
"A choice that helps you take a step toward your primary result is called a secondary choice.”
“Athletes and musicians may not enjoy practicing long hours, but they do so just the same: not out of duty, obligation, or any other form of self-manipulation, but because they are making secondary choices consistent with their primary choice to be able to perform music or excel in sports.”
What choices are you making?
So far we've talked a lot about tension, conflict and how that effects what we believe we can do..
- Those are all very important because they allow us to choose a true and meaningful (to us) primary choice..
- This is the big goal that you have at any given time.. Whether it's 5 years, 2 years or a lifetime!
- Some result that you want in itself and for itself..
But what about the things we need to do to get that goal?
- Perhaps we have to work long hours..
- Learn a new skill thats tedious at the beginning..
- Go against our natural tendencies..
These are all secondary choices (and ones we have to make much more often).
- Actually you could think of a primary choice as just a commitment to make many more secondary choices..
- Secondary choices are what truly leads us towards our goals!
- Primary choices are simply the things we commit to make secondary choices on.. Even when they are difficult.
Think of it this way:
- First: What is your primary choice?
- Second: Are you secondary choices leading you towards that?
"The vital question of the creative process: ‘What do I want to create?’”
“Whenever you are confused, you can become clear by asking and answering this question."
"Confusion usually comes from focusing on process, or solution, and not being able to see where you are going. When you are considering what you want, your ability to focus your attention toward desired results eliminates this confusion."
"When you are confused, it is usually not about where you want to go but how to get there. If you try to find a way to get there before you know where you want to go, naturally you can expect confusion to accompany your quest.”
Feeling lost? Unsure of what to do next?
That confusion usually comes from being focused to much externally..
- Instead of asking yourself 'what do I want?' you're likely asking yourself 'what can I get?' or 'how could I get it?'
- Both of these are not bad questions.. But if you ask them before you ask yourself what you truly want it's going to get confusing!
Remember the elastic bands and structural tension?
- “In order to conceive of what you truly want to create, you must separate what you want from what you think is possible.”
- Listening to yourself is a practice of quieting the mind, overcoming your tension and beliefs so that you can truly hear what you want..
When was the last time you really listened to yourself?
- This might seem like a silly question.. But by now we've seen just how our minds trick us into not believing in ourselves..
- Given that.. Most of us don't ask 'what do I want?' but ask 'what can I get?' and as we'll see coming up next.. That question is going to leave us unmotivated.
“If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable."
"You disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all you have left is a compromise."
"The human spirit will not invest itself in a compromise.”
Wow.. 'The Human Spirit Will Not Invest Itself in Compromise'
When was the last time you felt truly alive?
- Charged with energy and running headfirst into your goals without worry or pressure..
- For some of us it's been a long time! That's a sad affair.. But with this concept we know how to deal with it.
Your Spirit NEEDS you to disconnect from your fear, guilt or shame around what you truly want!
- Why would it give you access to the unbelievable energy, ingenuity and creative force when you're playing below it's level?
- When you've put the training wheels on so you cannot fall you can't truly play all out..
- If I was sure that I would succeed, I would:
1 2 3 4 5
“The best place to begin the creative process is at the end."
"What is the final result you want?"
"This way of thinking helps you conceive the result you want to create independently from how you will create it.”
There are five steps of the creative process:
Step One: Begin With The End. What Do You Want?
Step Two: What Currently Exists? (Where Are You Now).
Step Three: Take Massive Action.
Step Four: Learn The Rythms of The Process/
Step Five: Create Momentum.