I heard this sentiment from the creator of the UCLA Olympic weightlifting program. He escaped Poland at a time thought to be impossible, later beat cancer, and obviously went on to be an incredibly influential coach in the athletic world.
We’re all familiar with the phrase “path of least resistance.” But I think we’re less familiar with his take, namely, that we often choose the path of least immediate resistance only to end up with the path of greatest long term resistance.
It has an analogy in cardiology. We can suffer the momentary discomfort of physical training, which indeed raises the systolic blood pressure as high as 2,000 (that’s not a typo), in order that we live out the rest of our moments and days in a mental, emotional, and physical peace. Or, we can trade those hard moments for a physical state which is persistently overstressed, albeit only slightly. Of course, slight elevation of blood pressure will kill you and degrade your remaining days if left to persist.
The fascinating piece within this scientific fact is that the human body will improve with outrageous but momentary spikes in blood pressure. But you will cut your life short and a less enjoyable one at that by avoiding those momentary spikes.
I believe the spirit, too, will flourish with momentary but incredibly high stressors. And it will dwindle with persistent but lower stressors.
Every day we can choose a path of least immediate resistance. What we get in return is a path of greatest long term resistance. Thinking we dodged a bullet, we in fact stepped right in front of the gun. There are analogies in relationships, parenting, hard conversations, work places, business opportunities, and so on.
Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life.