March 20, 2014

Productivity Hacks: The Law of Least Action.


When your mind and heart are truly open abundance will flow to you effortlessly and easily.

Cosmologists are closing in one a radical theory of the universe that will link it to human life in a very intimate way. Instead of a cold, lifeless void, the cosmos is about to emerge as a living thing whose operations are intelligent and conscious.

What does that have to do with meeting your next deadline and cutting your work week back from sixty to eighty hours? Let me explain.

One of the classic laws of physics is known as the Law of Least Action, which says (in simplified form) that Nature takes the shortest, most efficient route to accomplish things. From chemical reactions to the curving arc followed by a baseball, whatever is the least action needed is the amount of energy consumed. This is the physics equivalent of saying that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

You can confirm a straight line simply by looking at it, but when a baseball is thrown, Nature computes trajectory, gravity, momentum, mass, and friction all at once to arrive at least action, and it happens instantly and automatically. Change one element in the equation – such as throwing the ball on a rainy day – and adjustment is made immediately.

If the Law of Least Action was applied to the human brain, productivity would increase tenfold, because making a decision would be an automatic, effortless computation of all the variables involved. Such a possibility seems far-fetched, however, when you consider that any decision you make in business – such as hiring a new employee – enters into various gray areas. Is the new hire honest, reliable, experienced, capable in a crisis, a team player? The productivity of a new employee involves these variables and more.

But consider this: Your brain already operates by the Law of Least Action. Every electrical impulse traveling down a neuron, every chemical reaction leaping across a synapse, must obey this law. That implies that there is an efficient state of the brain as a whole. This, too, is a reality. If asked to add 2+2, your brain gives the answer instantly, unlike a computer, which must actually calculate any problem posed to it. The human mind works by a combination of insight, creativity, memory, quantum leaps of creativity, and other aspects unknown to computers. And much if not all of this is done according to the Law of Least Action.

Therefore, the ultimate productivity hack is this: give the Law of Least Action a chance. Stop interfering with it.

Tips for promoting least action:

  • Get enough sleep.
  • Promote an open environment for the exchange of ideas
  • Allow free communication at every level of work and management
  • Support the whole group emotionally
  • Ask for honest feedback
  • Make every worker feel valued

Tips for getting out of the way:

  • Stop using undue pressure
  • Don't promote stress as an incentive
  • Don't use intimidation
  • Don't isolate management from workers
  • Let go of old, familiar ways of doing things

The Law of Least Action is stymied when we complicate our lives. All of the tips I've listed are needless complications to the smooth flow of work. But the world's wisdom traditions go much deeper into the matter. They point to consciousness as the key. If you expand our awareness (through meditation, reflection, contemplation, and closely examining yourself) you will reach a level of the mind where least action can work much more efficiently. Solutions will come far more quickly because you won't be stuck at the level of the problem. Carrying out bold plans will not create resistance and stress because you will trust the source of thought deep inside yourself.

In the future I anticipate that the link between cosmos and mind will only grow stronger. In the meantime, we have enough evidence from neuroscience, physics, and the world's great thinkers to begin trusting in the Law of Least Action and applying it to daily life.


This post is part of a series in which LinkedIn Influencers share their secrets to being more productive. See all their #productivityhacks here.

Write Your Comment


    Once again Deepak hits the nail on the head (law of least action saying of course) and I particularly like the bit about the baseball as I hadn`t thought of that, i.e. the thrower merely imparts an element of direction and pace to the ball, whilst the Universe determines whether his/her actions will deliver the desired outcome, automatically. Fascinating angle and one I certainly will be reflecting on over the coming days.

  2. Benny Huguet

    Thenk you Mr. Chopra for this link, thks, thks, thks

  3. Theodora Heidgerken

    Thank you graciously, Dr. Chopa. Long I have contemplated the meaning of Acceptance, not being defensive and creatively responsible as individual concepts and just never quite got it! Hallelujah, it makes sense now.

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