Robert Fritz: The Path of Least Resistance and Getting What You Want

A Waterfall in Iceland as a Metaphor for The Path of Least Resistance

A Waterfall in Iceland as a Metaphor for The Path of Least Resistance

Is there one thing that you really want in your life, that just keeps seeming out of reach? Or are you already pretty good as a creator, but would like to understand better how that happened and how to keep being good at it?

Here I want to tell you about an amazing method for getting what you want, explained in the works of Robert Fritz, especially in his first book, The Path of Least Resistance.

The “Path of least resistance” is a familiar metaphor for how the world works, following the easiest path: whether it’s us lazy humans that just keep doing what we’ve always done, or inanimate things that fall along a straight line under the pull of gravity.

Robert Fritz’s “discovery” consisted in an especially clear understanding and aptitude to explain it to others, of how to harness this natural physical force.

Here’s how this simple idea of the path of least resistance can really transform your life into one that is single-guided towards achieving what you really want: it’s by building structures in your life that are such that by being your lazy self, you can do no other than create the results that you want.

I came across Robert Fritz’s books in my late teens and they had a huge impact on me. I’m sure they helped me churn through my PhD in a swift 4 years. I think they were key also for me in jumping from theoretical particle physics to investment banking. They returned to visit me when I embarked on doing biomedical research 10 years ago.

What is the Path of Least Resistance about?

It’s marketed as a tool to create nearly anything you want in your life. This is quite a bold claim, and other methods also have similar claims. One popular alternative is the Law of Attraction, which is also a powerful method, that I will return to in another article. Other valid alternatives are the Natural Brilliance Model of Paul Scheele, the very well-known S.M.A.R.T. goals, and various methods that bypass the conscious mind, like hypnosis and self-hypnosis. For now, let’s just leave the bold claims aside, and focus on understanding the concepts and how to apply it to our own lives.

Another Great Waterfall: I Saw a Dozen Different Ones in Iceland!

Another Great Waterfall: I Saw a Dozen Different Ones in Iceland!

In a nutshell, the method of The Path of least resistance consists in having in mind a clear vision of what you want to create. Here, you want indeed to be very clear about what you want and what you don’t want, and to keep crystal clear in your mind at all times what is this vision, to not let it fade away under the daily grind.

Take some time to get clarity about what you want and what you don’t want. I recommend using some creativity methods like Image Streaming and Mind Mapping to awaken your vision of what you want in your mind.

Next, you also need to have a clear and honest and perhaps very detailed grasp of what is your current reality, as it relates to the vision. You’ve got to be very careful not to sugar-coat the present reality. Furthermore, you need to keep very well aware of your current reality as it changes day-to-day.

The sort of magic by which you will get what you want is called “Structural tension” by Robert Fritz. Structural tension is the difference that you can clearly see between your clear representation of your current reality, and your clear vision of what you want.

Structural Tension Is the Force Leading From Current Reality to Vision

Structural Tension Is the Force Leading From Current Reality to Vision

I’ve used the word “clear” repeatedly to hammer in that this is very important, and if you’re like most people, a key problem that you have is that you both have a foggy vision of what you want, but also and perhaps surprisingly a foggy representation of your present reality too. Think about it.

Finally, the recipe for success with getting what you want is to have in place a “structure” that moves you from your current reality to your vision in the most direct way. With this structure, you can just be your lazy self and you naturally produce the results that you want. Creating this structure is not easy, but it is crucial, and you probably need help with that. It starts with eliminating distractions, but it’s of course a lot more than that.

The best I can do to help is to tell my story as an example, and to refer you to the examples in Robert Fritz’s works for guidance.

My Present Story

As I said above, the works of Robert Fritz were very influential for me some 10, 15 and 25 years ago, and all these could be valid examples to give you. But I feel my current situation is the most inspiring and with the broadest appeal.

Now in my late 40s, I can look back and see that I’ve had several academic careers, I’ve made scientific discoveries, I held a high-flying job as an investment banker, but none of this has appeal to me anymore. I’ve changed, just like everyone else.

Instead, my vision is to be my own employer, and/or not really have to work per se, and live a sort of fantasy life such as exemplified in the book The 4-Hour Workweek of Tim Ferriss: According to my vision, most of my life would be centered around creative activities of my choosing, and there would be a fair bit of travel too, perhaps a month or two per year.

I have to recognize that my current reality is very far from my vision. I do need to generate income and I could easily be led astray by taking a job that would make it nearly impossible to have the time to do my creative activities. I am constantly pushed by friends and relatives to do so: Why don’t you take another banking job, that’s where the money is! Or why don’t you teach and hold a tenured professorship, where you are free to do what you want! But my reality is that professors don’t do at all what they want.

In my current reality, I have nearly enough time for my figure skating, since I make it a priority, about half the time I would like for my piano playing and for doing acroyoga, and there are several other activities for which I have little time, like dancing and singing, returning to playing the flute, and much else.

So the crucial question is: what is the structure that I can put in place, that will ensure I lazily glide towards my vision, by following the path of least resistance? Honestly, I have not found for certainty what this structure should be. It’s a creative process to find it, maintain it, and adjust it by staying astute with what is working or not.

For me, a key component has been developing websites, including this one, geared at helping people. I do that through a platform called Wealthy Affiliate, which is like a university for learning how to be successful online, and which I very much recommend. You can sign up for free here and find out for yourself.

This requires me to dedicate a significant amount of time to “work”, i.e. working on my websites and learning the craft of affiliate marketing, much of which I actually enjoy doing, about 20-30 hours per week. The structure which ensures keeping the structural tension between my vision and my reality also includes saying no to activities that don’t fall under my priorities, saying no to jobs, saying no to people, etc. Saying no becomes the lazy thing to do to potential distractions, i.e. what’s easier than saying no!, because I’m just too busy with my priorities!

What Are the Benefits?

First, this is a very simple model. The structure keeps you from wasting time and erring, what Robert Fritz calls oscillating. As I hinted above, it becomes much easier to take control of your own life, and say no to the agents who want to take over your time.

What Are the Challenges?

There are several challenges, of which we can make a long list, but to keep it short:

  • it can be hard to formulate a clear vision of what one wants
  • it can be hard to truly see the current reality and accept it, rather than deny it or embellish it
  • it can be hard to design the proper structure that takes you from reality to vision

One Example

Robert Fritz offers many examples, through his books and his newsletter, which I receive monthly since 2009.

A very recent (June 2019 newsletter) and inspiring example is that of Rosalind, Robert’s wife, who just achieved some official US records, and unofficial world records, in weightlifting at the age of 71 years old! We’re talking here about lifting some 200 pounds, after under one year of training. This to me is a clear and straightforward example of what can become possible through this method.

Rosalind Fritz and Her Trainer Carla After Rosalind Broke Two Weightlifting Records

Rosalind Fritz and Her Trainer Carla After Rosalind Broke Two Weightlifting Records

Conclusion

At key times in my life, the Path of Least Resistance has helped me considerably with putting in place a structure and a way of thinking that led me to major achievements.

I strongly recommend it to you, starting with reading the books carefully. You can visit their website and sign up to their newsletter here. I’ve not personally done their live trainings, but I have a very successful friend who did one some 20 years ago, and was very enthusiastic about it.

If you have any questions or queries, please leave them below and we will aim to answer them quickly.

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18 Responses to Robert Fritz: The Path of Least Resistance and Getting What You Want

  1. Fabio says:

    It is a real nice article, also One of my favorite photographers, Jennifer Kelley Lublin, posted a mesmerizing photo this week of a beautiful winding path surrounded by trees in this place.
    I really could imagine myself on this path and wondered what kind of magic lay just around the bend. The trees seem to be willing to lend a helping hand or to part their branches to shed more light along on the way. Wherever it leads, I want to go there.
    In my opinion: This is where the magic of the Path of Least Resistance comes in. Have you ever been faced with a change and suddenly, seemingly without effort, the opportunity presents itself? That’s the path of least resistance.

  2. Aabidah Ahmed says:

    It is a well written and inspiring post. I sometimes know what I want but at times it’s difficult to get it. Sometimes that’s just life and you cannot always get what you want in life, or so I thought. 

    After reading your amazing post, I am positive I can do anything. I won’t mind reading this post over again to stay positive in thinking about what I want to achieve. I’ll bookmark this post for layer again.

    Thank you for this post and all the best.

  3. AJ says:

    wow! what a nice article. This is the first time i heard this. I am a big fan of the law of attraction, this one is very similar to it but i think its simpler. I think with this technique it will be easier for us to know what we truly want in life. For those who are looking for clarity, like me :). I will go ahead and try this path of least resistance. I know its not going to be easy. But I love these kinds of stuff. thank you for sharing this to me and looking forward to your future articles about self help or self development. 

  4. Harry says:

    I was thinking about the path of least resistance a few days back and how our brains actually function taking advantage of this principle.

    I was basically thinking about habits and how to break bad ones when it occurred to me that habits are basically thoughts or actions which have become so easy and natural to us due to repetition that require little to no energy at all to actually take place.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    • Phil says:

      Hi Harry,

      that’s quite right, it is about putting in place some structure that does not allow the bad habits to take place.

  5. Steve says:

    One of the hardest things for me is getting to achieve what I envision. So many times I know what I want, but fall short in knowing how to get there and what steps to take. In fact, it’s probably one of the biggest struggles I have in life and can become extremely frustrating. 

    It’s like being lost in a forest, climbing up a tree to the top of the canopy and seeing where you need to go, but as soon as I climb back down to get there, I get lost all over again. 

    Thanks for writing this article to try and encourage those like me who want to truly reach their goals and achieve their vision. I hope you are able to get there too!

    • Phil says:

      Hello Steve, from your feedback, it is clear that you would benefit from using the Path of Least Resistance. I’d say the challenge for you, from your metaphor about the forest canopy, is to put more efforts at keeping in mind a good honest representation of your current reality, while at the same time holding a clear bright vision of what you want.

  6. Dane says:

    I must say I’m pretty impressed with what I have read in this post. Generally,the mind of an individual is like a “god” to the individual. It can serve as a mirror that reflect what we think into reality in our lives. And that is the reason why people fail when they do not have a positive mindset, so I understand why you kept saying having a clear mind set. And I believe a clear mind would always yield a positive result always. A nice post you have put up here. I look forward to seeing more of such post and go on my search for this wonderful book. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Rick says:

    You mention having a clear mind and vision of what you want to create. I agree with setting time aside and/or having a plan or structure in place to find a vision of what you want in life. The only thing I disagree on is being our lazy selves. Maybe I’m not reading far enough into this concept but on the surface I see issues with it. 

    I see to many people in my own family who are lazy, some of them have a vision of what they want and others don’t, but the biggest problem I see is they are to fearful of moving ahead and don’t want to do the little things to make the big goal or vision work out. I grew up learning what hard work was with physical labor and that has transferred how I work as an engineer now. What I hear mostly from people is how I have a clear vision of what I want and that I work hard to get there and then people ask me later how I got to where I am. Most of it was planning and working the plan and putting in long hours to make things happen.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t see how being our lazy selves is the best approach. Please feel free to correct me on this and give me more information on what the author really means.

    • Phil says:

      Hello Rick, I do get your points, and perhaps the word “lazy” is too strong indeed. But I’ll try to illustrate how it could work with specific examples. Let’s say someone has this clear vision of what they want, but they have fears and are rather lazy on the couch watching TV. The focus should be on realizing the discrepancy between the vision and the reality of watching TV. By focusing intensely enough on the vision, one could be led to want to get rid of the TV entirely, for example lend it to a cousin for a long period of time. The beginning of the solution for these people, I think, is to spend more time on making the vision clearer and inescapable. This could be done by some combination of meditation, creativity exercises, and physical exercises, which will help with reducing the fears and anxieties. Does this help a bit with making sense to you?

  8. Queen says:

    I really took the time to read this article, as I do have something that I want to achieve that feels impossible and out of reach, but I do know it’s just my mind playing limitation games on me.

    I think the idea of having a structure in place does make sense. And if the path of least resistance has really helped you come through so many years in accomplishing your goals, Then I believe it’s worth giving it a try.

    But if I may ask, will The Path of Least Resistance provide me with a specific structure to work with or does it just create Guidance for one to follow and find what really works for that person?

    Thanks for sharing, and hope to hear from you soon.

    Cheers

    • Phil says:

      Thanks for the excellent question. Unfortunately, the technique does not provide you with the specific structure that you need, it is something that you need to create for yourself, and it’s one of the biggest challenges to make the technique work for you. I think for you the starting point is to do some exercises to make your vision of what you want to achieve even clearer, and then think about constructing the structure that will lead you there. 

  9. Stella says:

    This article is enlightening and it is able to point out an amazing habit everyone must adopt. It is a great thing to make a relivant decision and it also an amazing decision to get it done without hinderance. This book will go a long way in guiding people to the right lane. Though, am just hearing about this book for the first time. It is fascinating to see that it has been existing for quite a long time. I can’t wait to grab my copy too. How does the price looks like?

    • Phil says:

      Hi Stella, it is an inexpensive book, and you can find used copies quite easily for very little money. You can also read much about it on Robert Fritz’s website for free, and by subscribing to his newsletter.

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