Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The law of least effort

Note: long philosophical post follows. You have been warned…

I came across Deepak Chopra’s
writing on the law of least effort recently and I spent some time thinking about how I could apply it to dating. It’s a pretty appealing concept, “do less and accomplish more”, especially to someone who’s a bit of a lazybones at heart (ie: me).

I kinda thought I’d been living the law of least effort prior to ‘operation romance’, which kicked off at the time I started this blog. You couldn’t have put much less effort into your love life than I did before I started all this! I simply gave it no thought and made no attempt to put myself into situations where I might meet someone nice. Apparently there’s a bit more to it than that though. Three steps, in fact:

1. Acceptance. As they say – what you resist, persists. So in my case that means accepting all the things that bug me so much. Like that it feels like everyone else in the world has met their special someone and I’m getting left behind while they're all off getting married and having babies. Or that it all seems so much easier for other people and that it sucks, because I’m such a catch and I’ve been trying so hard and yet still – nothing! That even when it looks like I might just catch a break, the bubble bursts before I get a chance to enjoy it. That generally it feels like I’m doomed to a life of perpetual single-ness…

Deepak says my chronic lack of a boyfriend is as it should be, because the universe is as it should be, and that by struggling with how things are, I’m struggling against the entire universe. Struggling against the whole universe? Yeah, that sounds about right. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, my current state of affairs – of course I’m struggling against it. It’s a cruel irony that the time it’s most difficult to have faith that things will work out is when you need it most. It’s so easy to be trusting and faithful when things are already going your way!

Anyway, onto the second component: Responsibility. This means being able to have a creative response to the situation as it is now and to treat every problem as an opportunity.

Gotta tell you, I’m struggling with this one. The implication is that there’s a lesson in everything, and okay, I can buy into that. I just don’t know what to do with it practically. Or maybe I know more than I think?

It had crossed my mind a little while ago that there are things in life that I put off because I’d rather not do them on my own. Like travel, for one thing. Another biggie is my pipe dream to turn creative hobbies into a paying profession. I like the idea – but not the reality of what would happen to my income during the transition. And so I kind of had the idea that maybe it was something I could do while I was home with the kids. (You know, ten years from now when my luck with men finally turns around!)

And then I had the thought - what if it never happens? If I knew that I would never find the right person, never settle down and have children, that I would only ever have myself to look after and answer to – what would I do differently? Which led me to consider, why not do that now?

I thought I was onto something and you know what, I’m working on it. That seems to me like a creative response, like finding an opportunity at the bottom of a problem.

The third step is ‘defenselessness’, which means releasing the need to convince others of your point of view.

I guess in my case it means not going all out to convince men of my opinion that I am an extraordinary creature worth their while. They either get it or they don’t. Which is similar to Dating Dummy’s idea of going for the people who go for you

You just can’t convince someone who’s not into you to change their mind. And really that’s where I expect the law of least effort to come into play – that after all the frogs kissed and imperfect matches met, when you finally meet someone who’s right for you, you don’t have to try hard to impress. You already are. He already is. Effortlessly.

It’s a nice thought. I for one am ready to do a little less and receive a lot more.


At 7 February 2007 at 1:08 PM, Blogger Katrina said...

You gotta look after yourself first. I think those second and third resolutions/realisations sound pretty valuable.

At 13 February 2007 at 4:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like that whole idea... have you been trying to use it in day-to-day life? I wonder how it's going...

At 23 February 2007 at 3:58 AM, Blogger kittenpower said...

I think Deepak may know what he's talking a/b!

At 26 February 2007 at 5:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, just discovered you. I'm new to blogging and I'm trying hard to find a community of fellow daters spreading some good sense around. I liked your post and it reminds me of an ebook I read recently that hits on the same point. It's written by Rori Gwynne, a very simple, little book about the necessity of pulling in rather than pushing back. If a man senses we're working too hard to make it happen, he feels pushed and won't pick up the oars and paddle. Definitely better to focus always on your wants and feelings...and when you're comfortable with yourself and not doing so much work, he feels pulled toward you. Now, if I only had a man to practice my newly learned nuggets of knowledge with...hmmm.....


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