And if I was at school, I always loved the special days. Half-days, school rallies, special events, and even a teacher showing a movie during class time was better than nothing.
But I didn’t want those special days so I could be a part of them — ooohhh nooo. I wanted those days just so I could experience something different.
School was rarely challenging or fun for me. At least the academic part of it.
In high school I remember getting poor grades because I just didn’t feel like doing the homework. But when test time came, I would study my butt off, then get A’s and B’s just to show everyone that I could and that their system was kind of pointless. Ahhh youth.
I still got bad grades, and ended up going to night AND summer school for three out of the four years I was there. I would barely graduate on top of that, and would have to pick up my diploma unceremoniously from the school office a year later.
School = 1 | Paul = 0
My strange, rebellious behavior would continue on into adulthood, and I think it was embedded deep within my subconscious at this point. I proceeded to drop out of college three times, and it wasn’t even a fair fight.
School scored first round knockouts every time (I dropped out in the first quarter of my return every time). I think I may have had .5 credits to my name. Maybe.
School = 4 | Paul = .5
Why’d I do that?
And this led me to wonder why I behaved certain ways and continued to get the same results in certain areas, while I improved in others.
It wouldn’t be until the year 2000 that I would finally understand what the heck was going on, after much reading and studying on my own.
Around the year 2000, my friend Bernie introduced me to a book titled “The Path of Least Resistance” by Robert Fritz. In it, he makes a very intriguing statement, but for me it was quite profound.
He wrote that structure always determines behavior. In Fritz’s own words:
“Structure generates behavior. It determines outcomes. It produces patterns. You can’t fool mother structure.” ~ Robert Fritz
What does this mean?
Well, if a river flows in a certain direction, then it BEHAVES that way due to its underlying structure, which in this case is the river bed. Simple, right?
Another example. Our homes have a certain structure to them, which includes the basic layout of the actual house, furniture, and other accessories.
This structure determines how we in effect BEHAVE in our homes. Examples of our behavior include passing through hallways and empty spaces, through doorways, and avoiding running into walls and furniture.
Structure generates behavior. It determines outcomes. It produces patterns. You can’t fool mother structure.
A shower has a specific structure that is fundamentally different from a bath tub, and each determines how we behave. You stand in a shower and generally lay or sit in a tub, unless that tub has a shower head, etc.
Fritz’s point was that since the way something is structured would determine your behavior within that particular structure, then it would automatically lead you down a certain path. The path of LEAST resistance.
And whatever you do now, regardless of who you are, you have some type of structure that is determining how you behave and act in the world. And this is your path of least resistance.
If you want to change a certain result in your life, such as weight or money or productivity, and you find that you have A LOT of resistance, AND you find it very difficult to change, then just realize that your current structure does not support your wanted change.
In our prior example of the house, this would be like trying to walk through a wall in the home. The current structure of the home does not allow you to walk from the bedroom directly into the kitchen.
It doesn’t matter how hard you TRY, or THINK POSITIVELY, the structure of the home simply does not support you walking through walls.
Now, if you want to knock out a wall, and create a direct A-B pathway to the kitchen, then you will have altered the fundamental structure of the house, and that will cause you to change your behavior.
This is really powerful stuff. And it’s everywhere.
Nature has structure. Societies have structure. Cultures have it. Governments have it. Businesses have it. Schools have it…
And people have it.
Everyone has structure
In social work, I used to hear how young people have no structure, and if they just had some, it would make the difference in their lives.
While I agree that a change in structure is necessary to facilitate change in our lives, I would also assert that EVERYONE has a structure of some kind.
We can start by becoming aware of that structure FIRST, and then making a decision to change things will naturally follow.
If there is an underlying structure determining your behaviors and habit patterns in your life, then what does this structure consist of?
Is it internal? External? Both?
What results or behaviors would you like to change in certain areas of your life?
Do you think it would be difficult or easy to change? Why?
To be continued…