Many people associate parkour with the path of least resistance when, in reality, resistance is the underlying cause of change and progress.
The results in life are rooted in one factor: choices. Every choice you make has a path of least and most resistance. You can always take the path of least resistance: the quick, efficient, most practical and least daunting; the road most traveled. This is the path you most often choose out of habit or out of comfort. Or you can choose the path of most resistance: the most uncomfortable, unnerving, most challenging and most inspiring; the road less traveled. My general rule of thumb: always take the road less traveled. There are twists and turns, and it is always filled with uncertainty but still results in growth and usually makes for a good story. If you have to make a choice and are in doubt, choose the more difficult option or the one that you don’t want to do. Usually, the thing you do not want to do is the thing that you should be doing.
We are creatures of habit. We typically stick to the what we know, the things we are comfortable with, and what is easiest to process. If you can become mindful of the things you do and recognize what is done out of comfort, then you are one step closer to progress.
The path of least resistance:
• Training the things you are accustomed to
• Doing things because you know you can do them
• Doing things you aren't ready to do but do them anyways
• Doing something tomorrow instead of today
• Giving in to peer pressure
• Doing whatever is asked of you without question
• Believing everything you see or hear without question
• Training while injured instead of resting
The path of most resistance:
• Being afraid and overcoming that fear
• Doing something even when you do not feel like it
• Listening to your body and mind; knowing when to stop
• Asking questions and being open to answers
• Traveling alone to a country where you do not speak the language
• Learning or trying something new
• Admitting you were wrong and apologizing
• Forgiving someone who has wronged you
• Giving up something you love because it is unhealthy either physically or mentally
For the past few years, I simply did things because I knew I could do them and do them well. I was taking no calculated risks out of fear of injury and failure. I started losing my passion for movement, and progress became very minimal. Just the other day, I watched someone whom I admire significantly take the steps necessary to achieve a goal they wanted even though it seemed out of their reach. Repetition eventually led to success, and I decided to follow in those footsteps. Instead of giving up on the thing I wanted, I dedicated the rest of my energy this day to obtain my goal, and I did just that.
Time is impermanent. Many of us fail to remember that time is of the essence, and every second wasted is a moment that you will never be able to re-experience. Unless of course, time travel becomes a thing. If not, you’re out of time. There have been countless times that I have put off doing what I should be doing, including writing this article and many of the others. There is this thing that exists within our reality called deadlines, which exist because time is precious. Deadlines also suck. I chose the path of least resistance, only writing when it felt good to write. This choice resulted in having to cram in writing these articles to meet the first issue’s deadline. I could have easily pushed through and had time to spare, but now I have to work twice as hard for the same thing.
I’ve made it one of my life missions to be as uncomfortable as possible as much as possible. I make it a point to be mindful of my daily fears and consciously overcome something that scares me every day, both within and outside the realm of movement. This may be trying new foods or ones that I hadn’t enjoyed in the past, talking with a stranger, sharing that first kiss with someone special or learning a new language with friends. You can grow and learn from everything you do, and that same mindset is transferable to movement and vice versa.
I am a storyteller. I aim to use my life to inspire others through my actions, and if I chose to take the path of least resistance regularly, I would have very little to tell. If you’re missing something in life, are not happy with where you are or with what you’re doing; you aren’t making yourself uncomfortable enough. This simply means that the choices you are making are not working. No choice is a wrong one, but certain decisions will have much more fulfilling outcomes. You simply cannot do the same things repetitively and expect different results. Well, I guess you can, it’s just called insanity. I did that for a while after learning I was gluten intolerant and allergic to dairy. Pizza is my favorite thing in all of existence, and it contains two things that my body does not enjoy. I would eat pizza regardless of the outcome, simply because I enjoyed it. I would be provided with the same painful results like clockwork yet continued to eat pizza, hoping that next time wouldn’t be so unpleasant. Terrible choice but I learned from it, and now I try not to make those same mistakes (although I still do sometimes, I’m only human.)
Back in 2009, I stood atop a roof with one of my good friends preparing to do a jump. He did the jump that day, and I took the path of least resistance. I made no conscious effort to push through as I had let fear consume me. That fear clung on for three years. I would return to this place time and time again only to be consumed by that same fear. I left my home one day intending to move beyond that fear, and I did. I stood atop the wall, knowing I was finally ready. A few minutes later, I jumped.
These past few years have been both some of the most beautiful and most difficult years of my life. However, this past year I found myself hopelessly lost as the relationship, between myself and one of my most cherished friends, was crumbling beneath our feet and there seemed to be nothing above our heads to grab onto. I realized that I was presented with two conclusive options. At the time, both options seemed like paths of most resistance with neither option appealing, as both resulted in pain. Either we continue struggling through a failing relationship in hopes that we may find a spark in the dwindling fire or change the direction of our involvement in hopes to salvage something from the wreckage. These choices ate at me day after day, month after month, as all I wanted was her friendship, but was unsure if either option would allow the space for that. One day, I realized that one of those choices had been the path of least resistance, and my mind was made up. Our relationship had been in shambles for too long, and even though both of us tried our hardest to bring things back together, we were stuck in feelings of the past. There was no progress moving forward, and no matter how hard we tried, nothing seemed to get any better. And when I thought things finally started to change, they became worse. I knew one thing: we were tired of the fighting and of always making each other unhappy. So I took the plunge, and we decided to end our current relationship in hopes of something better. What I realized is that we both were choosing the path of least resistance: the road we knew, the way most comfortable and the one, even with all of the hardship, was less painful than the other
“Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse. Any attempt on your part to correct this will only accelerate the process.”
Murphy’s First Corollary
It is often harder to work through the fear, the pain, the unknown, and rebuild than to continue living within the crumbling walls, even if you know that things could be better. We’ve all heard that if you work hard at something, you can make it work. While this may be true, something only working isn’t always the best possible outcome or the thing you should be working on. The next time you really want to do something but don’t feel like doing it, do yourself a favor and do it; you may never have a second chance, and the outcome will be more desirable. The jumps will scare you, these actions may make your hearts heavy or make your eyes weary from the late nights, but in the end, you may just find the satisfaction you were looking for. If you did everything you didn’t want to do every day, you would be closer to obtaining what you want from life. The things that we should be working on are the ones that make our hairs stand on end and our hearts beat faster than our legs can carry us. Work on things that provide you with resistance, things that will genuinely help shape your path.
Always go with the decision that will make the best story.