The Path of Least Resistance

Erluo - Darien, Illinois
Entered on April 24, 2008

As a high school student, there were countless readings for classes that I did not enjoy. Often, the books that I was required to read were rather boring and difficult – summer reading, class novels, short stories, etc. Like many others, I have found the ultimate “resource,” Sparknotes, to help me with interpretation of texts. This was the easy way out, and the path of least resistance was so appealing to me that it had once been my philosophy for life – until I realized how much I am missing out because of Sparknotes.

One summer, I “sparknoted” my summer reading, Frankenstein, for an interpretation of the theme. However, I was later required to write an extensive analysis in my essay on the novel. As a result, I had to read the entire novel in detail and formulate my own interpretations. To my surprise, the “stuff” that I got from actually reading it was far more fulfilling than reading a summary. I was able to come up with my own ideas rather than being spoon fed by Sparknotes. I began to recognize the importance of doing everything myself – it allows me to think critically and be myself. This, in turn, helps build my own character, because I had to go the extra mile to work my thinking skills. Tossing Sparknotes away, I found myself learning more than I’ve ever done with Sparknotes.

The path of least resistance certainly left me in a comfort zone, but at the price of my opportunity to learn. Looking back at great historic figures, I think that they all had to get out of their comfort zone somewhere along the line, and take a path filled with challenges that so many others did not dare to take, which ultimately made them great. I want to be great, and therefore, there is no reason why I should fall back to the path of least resistance when I should challenge myself.

I no longer take the path of least resistance. Perhaps I have not met any challenges that are more difficult than others, but I certainly am out of the stage where I lean back and do or learn nothing in a comfort zone. It is now my believe that I should challenge myself as much as I can, for that is the only way I can make personal progress, and that is the most valuable thing. And this I believe.