Minimal effort

Character in bathtub by C.P.Richards

WARNING: Minimal effort is an advanced concept and may not be easily understood by those new to slowing down.

How much kinder and gentler our world would be if more people would not do so much. History would have been so different if Genghis Khan, Stalin (and a contemporary or two) had not bothered to get so much done.

Right now, getting things done is all the rage. But the Institute’s position is against unnecessary stress and strain. Do less, slowly has long been our cry.

Sometimes cruel circumstances have a habit of mucking up our plans to slow down and do less. When that happens, there is nothing for it but to roll up our sleeves, put our shoulders to the wheel, put our best foot forward, grit our teeth, and get on with it. That’s exhausting and uncomfortable.

But with practice and determination, even the busiest person can get on the slow path and eventually achieve not muchness.

Minimal effort has three parts.

1. It’s a practice of only doing those things that are necessary or enjoyable.

2. Do fewer things and do them slowly.

3. Sadly, we’ve forgotten what number three is, but we know it’s important. Please contact us if you remember.

Ask yourself this: If you can achieve the same result with a lot of effort or minimal effort, which would you choose?

We thought you’d say that.

Consider this, a beginning swimmer expends lots of effort splashing about and achieving little. But once on the slow path to not much and with luck, time, and practice, that same swimmer can achieve minimal effort as she glides through the water with ease.

The Institute’s slow-down-one-step-at-a-time position has caused some people to get the wrong end of the stick.

Lazy is one word that comes up.

Minimal effort is a practical slow skill. The problem is, at first, it takes more time and effort to create a minimal-effort habit.

But minimal effort is a scientific principle. Think about momentum. At first, it takes a lot of energy to move an object or overcome a resistant idea, but as soon resistance lessens, things glide along smoothly. And any regular habit leads to change.

You see, we’re not just a bunch of half-baked, hammock-swinging crackpots. And we have history and physics on our side. World leaders and captains of industry take note. Slow down, do less.

You know it makes sense.