We all have habits that seem to drag as down. Patterns of thought or behavior that, once activated, leave us feeling visibly worse than before. What we tend not to notice so easily is the habits that, instead of dragging us down, never allow us to get up to speed in the first place. I call these high resistance habits; and because they’re in place, we very seldom travel down the roads they block off. The path of least resistance simply deviates around them, often leaving us none-the-wiser to their presence.
One such road that my high resistance habits typically block off is the idea that I am perfectly fine just the way I am. I mean, how can I be perfectly fine the way I am when there are things I would very obviously prefer differently? Especially since a large portion of society would probably disapprove of the way I choose to live my life. Where instead of having a job I simply do what I want to do and trust that everything will work out. But I had an experience this morning that created a window between me and my high resistance habits, and allowed me to see my place in the world in a slightly softer light.
It all started last night when my buddy sent me notice of a potentially fun job opening. After sleeping on it, I was inspired to respond to him with the following:
There are lots of fun and intriguing possibilities out in the world. I like entertaining those possibilities, the way a man would invite guests over for an evening of fun, but I don’t necessarily want to share my life with those possibilities.
I’m actually quite enjoying retired life, and I’ve decided that instead of reintegrating into working society I’m going to allow working society to gravitate to me. They want to live like me more than I want to live like them. So why would I go out of my way to be more like them, when they’re ultimately wanting to be more like me?
But thanks a lot for thinking of me and sharing the opportunity. Unfortunately all I have to offer in return is pretentious responses fueled by delusions of grandeur.
This interaction really helped crystallized the notion that where I am feels better to me than where society would wish me to be. I now realized that responding to the question of, “What do you do?” with anything that tries to fit all the subtleties of my existence into a singular job title no longer feels best to me. And that, from now on, I will simply say “I’m retired.”
When most people ask “What do you do?” they assume that you have a similar model of reality as they do. They assume you work to pay the bills because it is day to day effort that accomplishes. When you tell them you’re retired it informs them that you’ve liberated yourself from that model. That your life no longer revolves around the things you must do to maintain a certain momentum, but around the things you want to do — largely leveraging the momentum you’ve already established.
There are tons of financial experts who help people get more out of their money; not by working harder, but by investing smarter. I want to focus my energies on getting more out of momentum; not by increasing my effort, but by lessening my resistance.
The same way a bullet train hovering over magnetic rails reaches speeds unobtainable by a traditional train still rubbing metal against metal, I can get to where I want to go in a similarly awe-inspiring fashion. Not by building a faster engine, but by clearing a faster path.
In a high resistance environment, force is required to maintain momentum. In a low resistance environment, momentum largely maintains itself, and much less force is necessary because you’re not pushing against the environment to get to where you want to go. I want to experience more and more of the latter. I want to glide through experiences that are supposed to create friction. I want to let go of any views of reality that see the world as a hard, inhospitable place.
I have high resistance habits. We all do. But that doesn’t mean we have to live with them the rest of our lives. We can liberate ourselves from them. We can soften our points of view to allow in easier solutions. We can allow life to surprise us in areas where it previously disappointed.
Most people want a complete understanding of how to get somewhere before they embark on a journey toward it; the same way that most people want to make sure they have enough money to last them the rest of their lives before they’re willing to let go of working hard. But we are not most people. And we no longer need to limit ourselves the way most others do. We can begin retiring those high resistance habits simply by acknowledging our desire to do so.
In fact, you need not even acknowledge it verbally or mentally. You can tell from your very reading of this post whether or not the desire has been activated within you. And once it has been activated it has become inevitable. Your work is not to make it happen but to prepare for its inevitable presence in your life.
What is the “it” that retiring your high resistance habits will lead to? I do not claim to know. But I do know it’s a faster, more fun, moving stream than anything we could consciously imagine. And that catching up with it is as easy as no longer dragging your feet.