Taking the Easy Route Isn’t Always a Bad Thing

A lot of us hold onto the misconception that life needs to be hard; that good things will happen to us only with sacrifice, struggle, and self-torment. Growing up, that is what I believed (and was told) it took to be successful. So I learned to overwork. To over-effort. To constantly overthink. For years I tried to force the flow of my life through an uncomfortably narrow pipe with a known destination; because that’s what we’re supposed to do, isn’t it?

Let me be the first to tell you, it’s not worth it.

We live in a culture where it is posh to be “too busy”; to push ourselves too hard, to forcibly clamber our ways to the top. It’s a culture that deifies stress. So as stress continues to consume every facet of our overbooked daily lives, to make us diseased and tired and unhappy, I choose to take a different approach—the easy route.

Wait a minute. Did a subconscious blip of thought just pass through your mind? Some sort of hissing judgement like, easy means lazy? 

Ease is not synonymous with laziness or worthlessness. Is water worthless? Water constantly takes the path of least resistance. The power of ease is grossly undervalued in our culture. Too many of us try to force life. We marry too soon, spend years climbing the ladder in a job we don’t love, follow diets that give us no pleasure because “we should.” Whether it is at work, in relationships, at home, or in hobbies, no lasting happiness has ever come from trying to force progress. Fact is, forcing things usually causes them to sour.

Don’t dwell in the land of forced “shoulds.” Tune in to the natural momentum of your life. Live easy and openly and listen for the intriguing-yet-unexpected opportunities that will be presented to you. Let go a little and see where your life is drawn to. Essentially, just live easier. I first learned this on a river.

The first time I went stand-up paddleboarding, I was on the Colorado River in Moab, Utah. I signed up for a group trip a few days ahead of time, but when I got there, I was the only one on the list. My incredible guide drove me down to the river, went over some basics, and then told me, “Since we’re alone, we are going to make this more of a spiritual experience. Listen to what comes up for you on the river. Listen to what the river is telling you.”

Being the overthinking skeptic that I am, I consciously stifled an eye roll. But then I decided to be open. I thought, why not? What is there to lose?  With that, we started paddling.

During the few hours we had together, we encountered three stretches of 1/2 class rapids—not the easiest thing to stay upright on, especially your first time on a paddleboard. In preparation, my guide taught me how to read the water so that I could choose my best line through the roughest parts. She told me, no matter what, to keep paddling. She told me to listen to the river. Little did I know at the time that this rapids-prep would all prove to be a giant metaphor for life.

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The author standing in front of aforementioned rapids.

The first rapids came. I fell off my board. They caught me by surprise. The second rapids came. I fell. I was trying to force myself through the thrashing waves and lost control. The third rapids came. Knowing there was nothing I could really do, I kept paddling like my guide instructed, but allowed the water to dictate my precise path through the rapids. I stopped thinking about how I was going to get through and simply focused on maintaining my balance atop the board. And miraculously, the battleground of currents brought me safely through to calmer waters. I put barely any effort in, and I did not fall! That was the moment I allowed myself, perhaps for the first time in my life, to go with the flow, to not overexert, and it was a shocking success!

Life can be easy. In fact, it should be. Yes, you still need to prepare yourself. You still need drive and passion and perseverance. You need to read the water and get yourself in the right current. But easiness is different from laziness. Once you’ve got some momentum, it’s okay to allow the flow of your life to direct you. Follow the path of least resistance; the path of ease, happiness, and love. Finding a little more ease in life may be the key to your ultimate success and happiness, as long as you remain open and listen to the flow.

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79 comments

Sonia M
Sonia Mabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing

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Patrice Z
Patrice Zabout a month ago

This is a concept that bears repeating--OFTEN. Thanks for putting into black and white.

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Carl R
Carl Rabout a month ago

Thanks!!!

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Joemar K
Joemar Karvelisabout a month ago

Thanks

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Carolyn Bateman
Carolyn Batemanabout a month ago

Yes, water follows the path of least resistance. So important to remember that. Thank you!

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Philippa Powers
Philippa P1 months ago

Thanks.

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Deborah W
Deborah W1 months ago

Truth without love offends ... Love without truth deceives. Think about it ... balance in all things is key..

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Mona M
Mona M1 months ago

Easiness is different from laziness, I like this wise slogan. Thank you.

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Carl R
Carl R1 months ago

Thanks!!!

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Beryl L
Beryl Ludwig1 months ago

thank you

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