The Path of Least Resistance by Robert Fritz

Antonius Tsai
5 min readMar 28, 2024

“Try not. Do or do not. There is no try” ~ Yoda

In a scene from Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back of the Star Wars saga, Luke Skywalker was on the planet Dagobah training with Yoda. He was attempting to use the force to raise his moored X-wing fighter from the swamp. He puts in a lot of effort but was ultimately unsuccessful. Luke then says to Yoda, “I tried.”

Yoda replied, “Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.”

In your own life, you may have “tried” to do many things. Some worked and some didn’t. What was the difference?

The Oscillating Structure

The book introduces the concept of the oscillating structure. It goes like the following. Let’s say that you are dissatisfied with your weight and you want to shed a few pounds.

In our diagram above that creates tension. (top-left box) You are not where you want to be. So, you increase action to resolve the tension. (top-right box) In our dieting example, you cut down on how much you consume for a little while and see a few pounds lost. That leads to a decrease of the tension. (bottom-left box) Then you start to relax your discipline (bottom-right box), and then you gain weight again. (top-left box) Then that creates tension again and the cycle begins anew. Rather than losing weight, you oscillate between losing and gaining weight.

When many people say that they are “trying”, they are taking action to solve a problem, but when the problem subsides, they relax and the old circumstance returns. This is how a problem-solving mentality can result in oscillation. I’m not saying that problem solving isn’t useful in certain circumstances, but when used as a method to bring about meaningful change, it generally fails. This problem-solving-oscillating dynamic is why diets don’t work, and why many efforts at change fail.

“In the creative process you do not make choices about what you do not want. You make choices about what you do want.” ― Robert Fritz

Having a Vision of What You Want

Rather than saying that you want to lose weight (which is defined as a problem), instead create a vision of your desired future self. Using a personal example, I used to love eating potato chips. As a result, I weighed about 10 pounds more than what I’d like. I could always use some willpower to cut back on eating and lose a few pounds for a while, then that weight would just come back.

One day, I decided that I was a person who no longer ate chips. I didn’t “try” to lose weight; I just created a vision of my future self that didn’t eat potato chips. I embraced that vision and stopped eating chips. It took a bit of discipline in the beginning, but over time, I accepted that I’m a person who doesn’t eat chips. Within 6 months, I dropped 10 lbs. and that weight has been off ever since.

To escape the oscillating structure, you must create a vision of your future self. (This is different from “solving a problem”) This vision represents who you are determined to become.

“Creating is no problem — problem solving is not creating.” ― Robert Fritz

The Creative Structure

By creating a vision of a future state or future self, you break free of the oscillating structure. In my case, there was a big difference between someone who didn’t eat chips and someone who was “trying” to lose a few pounds. I had been a person who had been eating a lot of chips (current reality) but was living towards a future me who does not eat chips (future vision). The fact that the current reality and the future vision were not the same created tension.

The tension is “creative” in nature in that it wants to resolve through the actualization of future vision. When Yoda says, “Do or do not.” What he’s saying is that you either have a vision of the future that you are acting towards (do) or you don’t (do not). There is no try (oscillating is futile).

When Yoda easily lifts the X-wing out of the bog, he uses the force in a natural way. The force is analogous to the power to move things through creative tension. Even things which seem infeasible or impossible could be manifested through this creative process.

“If you limit your choice to only what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself form what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise.” ― Robert Fritz

Be Bold

My main lesson from this book is that you can be the creative force in your life. You have the ability to create the life you want if only you have the courage to commit your being towards a better future.

I hope that you have the chance to read this book and create the inspired life that you really want!

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Antonius Tsai

My work is in helping people connect to their greater selves and authentic purpose. (https://antoniustsai.com/)