The Path of Least Resistance

Is it human nature to take the easy way out? I've been thinking about that a lot lately. Wondering if we compromise to bypass the argument if we disagree with our co-worker or let that guy be abusive to his terrified child in the grocery line because we don't want to get involved.

Somehow, I don't think that's what our Founding Father did. The Boston Tea Party was not the path of least resistance, although it might have been an easier choice than a head on attack. Business leaders who powered the growth of American industry didn't take the easy way out. They grabbed the proverbial bull by the horns, rolled up their sleeves and dove in with all their being to make their business, and America, great.

What happened to our adventure spirit?

I just don't see those adventurous, go for the gusto approaches as much as I used to. We seem to be leaning toward risk reduction. I don't know if that's a sign of the times or a change in our human spirit. what I do know is that it reduces all of us.

In business - we take the safe middle road, fearful of outright failure if we take that risky path. Then there's our litigation avoidance. We filter everything we say or do in our business through lawyers, diminishing our marketing and sales power to avoid some crazy litigation claim. In so many aspects of our business, we're hamstrung and stuck in the middle ground - which has never been the fuel for distinction.

In our personal lives - we avoid confrontation with those we dislike - letting bad behavior continue. We use email instead of personal communications to share bad news or information that's bound to cause repercussions. All because we want to avoid the fuss.

Avoidance doesn't foster growth.

Taking the easy way out reduces us - personally and professionally. Our freedom wasn't won by ducking for cover. The greatest advances in mankind - from a cure for the incurable to walking on the moon - didn't happen because we ducked the tough stuff. It might be more pleasurable in the moment, but every time we cop out, we lose a little piece of our own power. Sooner or later, we lose ourselves.

Step out of our safe, easy path.

Whether it's protecting the kid next door from the bully or outing the boss who is cooking those books, we can all step up. Maybe change is scary - so everyone is hanging onto our status quo instead of seeking new opportunities, including the one right in front of our noses. Or that broken product service that all our customers know about, yet our executives refuse to acknowledge as a problem. It's time to step up! Fix what's broken and move forward onto that less known path - take a risk, be an adventurer beyond that easier way out.

The path of least resistance is for the weak and timid. I don't think any of us are made to play that role. Nor were our businesses created to be tentative. We can speak the truth, stand up for the right, take that adventurous step into the unknown - and thrive!

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