The Law of Least Effort
The Most Important of the 7 Spiritual Laws of Success
A couple of months ago, I picked up The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra. I had a pretty good idea of what to expect courtesy of Mike Stud’s (Mike.) podcast. I swear for the first 20 episodes of The You Neva Know: You Know What I Mean? Podcast, Mike found a way to work a spiritual law into every single episode. Finally, after the 19th time hearing about the book, I jumped on the Amazon app and purchased it.
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success is a quick read. If you were just to read it to read it, you could finish in 1-2 hours. If you were to read it to understand it, you would have to read it multiple times. Or at least for a relatively well-educated 24-year-old, like a week of seriously thinking about the book to wrap your head around it. Luckily there are chapter summaries and to-dos at the end of every chapter that helps you understand the law in the practical sense.
There is one law in particular that stood out like a sore thumb. The Law of Least Effort. Chopra describes the law as:
“This law is based on the fact that nature’s intelligence functions with effortless ease and abandoned carefreeness. This is the principle of least action, of no resistance. This is, therefore, the principle of harmony and love. When we learn this lesson from nature, we easily fulfill our desires.”
Basically, all of that is to say the less you do, the more you accomplish. Your ability to free form with nature is also your ability to succeed. In other words, the less time you spend fighting an uphill battle, the easier it will be for you to see your true path and follow it.
This whole law is built around the idea of love. If you love truly and freely, you will find more happiness. If you look to take control of other people and you act out of power and not love, you will not find the happiness/success that you seek.
To “achieve” the Law of Least Effort, there are three main components that you must understand: acceptance, responsibility, and defenselessness.
You must accept that you are exactly where you are supposed to be at any given moment. You are on your path and your journey. Each step of your journey is crucial to the entirety of your story. If you make peace with where you are, you will be able to see your path more clearly.
You must take responsibility for your current situation. If a “problem” arises, you must not blame others or yourself. A problem is an opportunity. Take the problem as it is, and use it as an opportunity to get better.
You must practice defenselessness. It is our first inclination always to go and defend our point of view. I am right, and everyone else is wrong. Think about how much energy you use fighting those battles. Learn to let it go and save your energy for your life’s pursuits.
Now that we have an understanding of the Law of Least Effort, how in the world is a 24-year-old in 2020 supposed to adhere to this law. This law goes against every fiber of our generation’s being. If there was ever a generation of doing too much, it’s us.
We fantasize about the future and complain about the present. We never take responsibility for our actions, ever. And we defend every single viewpoint and opinion with tooth and nail.
I had to reread this chapter over ten times to get an understanding of the content. I had to walk myself back and forth through my memories of growing up. Did this law apply to me? When did I try to do too much? When did I just let things happen?
The clearest example of the Law of Least Effort I could think of was all of the relationships that I had built over the years. All of my friendships and romantic relationships started with little or no effort. I never forced myself into situations to try to start a conversation/relationship with that person. They all happened naturally. I was in the right place at the right time, and nature’s intelligence took it from there.
On the opposite side of that coin, I can think back to the times that I tried too hard to make things happen. Trying too hard was my favorite method of shooting relationships in the foot. Oh, you didn’t respond to my last message. No problem, let me send another one…
Growing up, I also had the worst problem arguing with people. I thought I was right about literally everything. From friends to teachers to coaches, I would pick an argument with anyone. I guess I did it to prove that I was right and feel better? All I ended up doing was refusing to listen and as a by-product, missing an opportunity to learn and grow.
When is the last time that you got emotional about a situation, and it ruins your entire day? You sit on the couch in the worst mood watching The Office for the 6th time until it’s time to go to bed. You toss in turn in bed, replaying the situation over and over in your mind only to wake up the next morning, realizing that it’s not that big of a deal. Once you come to that conclusion, you also realize how drained you are from working yourself up the night before.
The crazy part about that situation is that we do it to ourselves all the time. It’s our favorite way to self-sabotage. I’m pissed off at the world! This is all your fault! Get out of here; I’m mad!
Depending on the level of our tirade, you might even take it to social media. Now your little fire gets a suitable dosage of jet fuel as the world now reacts to your situation. You end up even more upset and emotionally fired up that you were before. Your problem goes from being a 5-minute issue that you can work out by yourself to a week-long war with others involved.
Are there problems that are worth getting upset and worth taking action? Yes, but a tiny percentage. Save your energy for the things that matter. Don’t spend energy on Johnny cause he’s a lying asshole. He has always been like that and always will be. Oh well. Good riddance. I’m better off without you.
While reading this chapter, all I could think about was how much I could relate to this law. Yet, every time I went to put it into action, it was much harder than I anticipated.You don’t want to accept where you are at. I want to be much more advanced in my career and life than I am. You don’t want to take responsibility for problems. It’s so much easier to blame them on others. You do not want to be wrong or have your opinions trampled by others. As a way to prove “dominance,” you must fight for your beliefs.
The more that I pulled myself back from my rigid way of thinking, the more things started to open up.
When I started to accept where I am in life as a part of my journey, I was able to see the beauty in where I was. I would find myself looking out into the sunset, looking into a crowded room surrounded by all my friends, or at the dinner table with my family thinking, I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
When I started to take responsibility for problems that occurred, I began to learn exponentially. Even if the problem wasn’t my fault or it was forced upon me by others, I started to see them as opportunities. Now I take advantage of those problems and use them as learning experiences.
When I started to practice defenselessness, I began to realize that there might be benefits to looking at issues, ideas, and concepts in a different light. I don’t know it all. Someone else’s opinion might give me new insight on how to live my life better. Maybe it is complete and utter bullshit, but then it’s not worth wasting a single second on. Life is too short to argue with idiots.
Has the Law of Least Effort been incredibly hard to put into practice? Yes, 100%. I am still a long way off from really applying the law to all aspects of my life. Where I am using it now, I see improvements. Where I am failing to make the connection, I see the easy mistakes and traps I fall into. It is a work in progress, but I am hoping that years of practice will continue to improve the quality of my life.
I am glad that Mike Stud wouldn’t shut up about the Seven Laws of Spiritual Success. I would have continued to make the mistakes that I have made since I was young. Just this law alone has opened up so many doors for me.
I look forward to seeing how far this mindset and spiritual awakening will take me. I will continue to accept where I am, I will take responsibility for my problems and actions, and I will practice defenselessness. I trust that I am on the right path. Every day is just another step on the journey.