WARNING: Minimal effort is an advanced concept and may not be understood easily by those new to slowing down.
How much kinder and gentler our world would be if more people would not do so much. Studies have shown that world domination is tiring and can even lead to grumpiness. 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 two parts. First, it’s a practice of only doing those things that are necessary or enjoyable.
Secondly, it’s doing fewer things, but with more enjoyment or focus.
If you can achieve the same result with a lot of effort or minimal effort, which would you choose?
Misdirected effort is wasteful. A beginning swimmer splashes about achieving little. But with time and practice, that same swimmer can achieve minimal effort as she glides through the water with ease.
Minimal effort is a practical slow skill. Paradoxically, at first, it takes more time and effort to create a minimal-effort habit.
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.
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 take note. Slow down, do less.
You know it makes sense.