Action and GBGames have recently been having an interesting discussion onÂ the concept of being bold.Â A lot of it seems to come down to rising above your “path-of-least-resistance” internal programming in order to get out there and achieve something of consequence.Â However, as I read through these posts I found myself asking,Â ”Is this the most productive way to think of being bold?Â To rise above… to ditch the path of least resistance forever… To take the path of MORE resistance, in order to get results…”
Â ”Why not?” you may ask — “This path-of-least-resistance tendency I have makes me sluggish.Â It hampers my growth!Â I am mired in stagnation!”
The reason you’re on the path of least resistance is that it is impossible to be otherwise.Â That’s really what it comes down to.Â Your brain is a path-of-least-resistance machine, and you cannot fool your brain.Â This path is your friend.Â It brings you precisely what you want.Â If you run into a burning house to save Mittens (your baby pug), are you being bold?Â Sure!Â But did the action come from a decision to be bold or from resistance being added to all alternate paths?Â In such an odd and extreme case you’re still taking precisely the path of least resistance — you just couldn’t bear the future consequences of inaction, so you acted.Â It is when these resistances build up on all fronts that the path of least resistance becomes more and more bold to the observer.Â It’s when the final straw is added to the pile of hatred that you have for a job and you march into the front office and quit.Â It’s when the potential/romantic tension between you and the girl you’ve been hanging out with makes the situation awkward, combined with your extreme resistance to the memory of the past few months alone and the fear of a few months more that you reach out for that first bold kiss.Â Resistance will come from the past, present, and future, and the human brain is very quick to sort these things out and deliver a decision about what to doÂ in order to bring you what you want.Â
Â ”OK ok.. so what… I’m just supposed to wait around and hate my life until it becomes unbearable and it will change all by itself?”
Well if you can’t change the resistance of any given situation or path, and if your brain creates the perceived path of least resistance based on what you want…. what’s the problem?Â The problem is very likely that you haven’t clearly defined what you want.Â As far as I can tell, when the brain is teetering between various paths… each with about the same resistance (of one form or another), it defaults to the path with the least resistance in the present.Â This can be an important distinction — One path has NO resistance for about 3 days… and even then the resistance is limited to getting up for a drink of water.Â That path is lying on the couch.Â Down the road further this “lying on the couch” path willÂ result –Â weeks later — with being fired from your job (not that you’ll be there to get the pink slip), eviction from your apartment, andÂ starvation.Â Obviously that’s a lot of resistance… but it’s all so very far down the road.Â The second path involves working hard in the present towards say… making a game to sell.Â This option might involve unbearably boring toil forÂ a while, and then after that becomes unclear and confused, but may involve making a decent living at some point.Â The reason we so often choose to sit around doing NOTHING is because when the decision time comes, the brain favors the least resistance in the present.Â If you leave it up to biology to determine what you want it’ll always be relaxation, sleep, food, sex, and a nice comfortable temperature.
So in these teetering decision moments, with two primarily unclear paths and a longing desire to be capable of choosing the “correct” one, what can we use to tip the scales?Â Â Â There is one thing that can be changed over time (or rather quickly sometimes) juuuuust by thinking — your mind.Â Change your mind about what you want.Â The easiest way to get good results in attempting this is to examine very closely what you have and what you don’t have… gaps and voids and sometimes gaping hellish void-holes will emerge.Â Some of these may be things that you haven’t considered in a while, as you’ve effectively suppressed them for so long that they no longer provide the required resistance to spur change.Â By examining your desires closely, you’ll come to understand what you really want out of life — hardening your resolve, piling up resistance on all those paths that you don’t truly want to be on, loosening some of the resistance that you’ve experienced on the paths you DO want to be on (like fear)… and pretty soon you and Mittens will on your way together and you can look back and claim bold action for yourself.