Feeling Frazzled? Try The Law of Least Effort

When Pigs FlyAre you thinking things may get better when pigs fly?

No doubt you’ve seen it splashed on bumper stickers and greeting cards and just about everywhere.  Comics like Woody Allen and Albert Brooks have spent decades entertaining us with variations on the wry joke that “Life Sucks – And Then You Die.”

Yet, studies repeatedly prove that we actually get happier as we age. Happiness levels follow a U shaped curve, with the least happy folks in their mid-40s. Cross-culturally, even in countries with different healthcare and welfare systems, seniors are happier than the rest of us by a significant margin. Why is that?

More than 21 million people have watched this Bobby McFerrin video, which serenades the answer perfectly. Maybe it’ll brighten your day:


This week, a reader pointed out something I’d forgotten.  A scene in my book Due Justice where senior Kate Austin explains how she does it to a troubled thirty-something Willa Carson. Here’s the quote:

You see, Wilhelmina, I believe in the affluence of the universe. I believe you make your own life. You decide what it is that you want, and then the universe gives it to you. It’s not that you don’t have to work for it, but the law of least effort applies more often than not. If it’s too much trouble, it’s usually not worth it. Happiness is first, seeking happiness is the most important quest, and achieving it is life’s best goal.

Kate is not a fragile woman. A single mom of four, she’d found herself in many tough, unchangeable situations. The only variable, she eventually realized, was her attitude. Kate accepted reality, stepped up to the plate, and made the conscious decision to be happy first. She suggested that Willa give the Law of Least Effort a try.

Somewhere, not far below the surface, we each know what makes us happy. And it’s something simple. Don’t try too hard to achieve something grandiose, Kate would argue. You’re closer to happiness than you realize.

This is the time of year when even the happy times can be trying. So much stress and pressure. When you’re feeling overwhelmed by it all, have another listen to Bobby McFerrin or remember Kate Austin’s wise words. Let me know if they help you  put happiness first, too. I hope they do.

Until then –

Caffeinate and Carry On!

p.s. Would a little extra cash in your budget make a difference?  We might be able to help with that. Are you a member of the Diane Capri Crowd NewsFlash! mailing list?  Just CLICK HERE to complete the form and refer your friends, too. Can’t wait to see you there!

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12 Responses to Feeling Frazzled? Try The Law of Least Effort

  1. Lynette M. Burrows November 29, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    Wonderful post and sentiment, Diane. The law of least effort is a keeper. So is _Due Justice_. 🙂 Hope you’ve had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    • Diane Capri November 29, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

      Hi, Lynette,

      It’s always nice to see you. Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and yes, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving. How about you? Plenty to eat, I hope!

  2. Kassandra Lamb November 29, 2013 at 11:56 am #

    Definitely a great sentiment, Diane! And timely for me as I am working on working less and enjoying life more right now. (So I can be one of those happy seniors again 😀 ) Thanks!!

    • Diane Capri November 29, 2013 at 7:02 pm #

      Hi, Kassandra,

      So glad you enjoyed the post. Who knew old those oldsters were so happy? But what a great thing, right?

      Thanks for stopping by and good luck on your quest to work less and enjoy more.

  3. Lynne B Graham November 29, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    That was a great start to my day thank you so much. Will keep it handy. Loved the words and especially the dancing made me smile.

    • Diane Capri November 29, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

      Hi, Lynne,

      So glad you liked the post. I thought that dancing was great, too! 23 + million people can’t be wrong!

  4. Karen McFarland November 29, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    Fab post Diane! It’s so good to know that I’m growing happier every day. And I’m totally on board with the less is more theory. Now you’re talking my language. 🙂

    • Diane Capri November 29, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

      Hi, Karen,

      Good to see you — kinda sorta. Your gravatar is missing somehow. So I can see your smiling face in my head anyway. 😉

      Glad you enjoyed the post and I, too, like the “happier every day” idea. Nice one, right?

  5. Julie Glover December 1, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    Great sentiment. I’m actually happier now in my 40s than I was in my 20s. I hope it just gets better and better…but one reason is that I just don’t sweat the small stuff like I used to.

    • Diane Capri December 1, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

      I think that is the answer, Julie, don’t you?

  6. Emma Burcart December 3, 2013 at 6:00 am #

    I like it! The least effort does sound best. I try to focus on listening to my energy and being in the flow. If something isn’t working, I try to change course. There is no point in trying to force something that doesn’t want to move. 🙂

    • Diane Capri December 3, 2013 at 10:08 am #

      Exactly, Emma. But for me, the tension comes between the advice to “persist” and “go with the flow.” Some obstacles are meant to be pushed through and some are a sign to take a different path. It’s hard to know which is which in the moment…..

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