The Path of Least Resistance

by Robert Fritz

All of the greatest and most important problems of life are fundamentally insoluble. They can never be solved, only outgrown. This outgrowth proved on further investigation to require a new level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest appeared on the patients' horizon, and through this broadening of his or her outlook the unsolvable problems lost its urgency. It was not solved logically on it's own terms but faded when confronted with a new and stronger life urge. - Carl Jung

Hoplinks to key topics:

Energy follows the path of least resistance.

The movement of this energy is ordered according to the dynamic operation of the universal principles. The Law of Vibration tells us that this means that energy moves according to the principle of efficiency following the path which costs the least amount of effort. Therefore, the Path of Least Resistance is the basic principle for movement of energy. (source: The Whole Elephant Revealed)

Notes: Some common threads with Take Back your Life

The Past

“Becoming fixated on the past and not accepting the present reality does not diminish suffering, it prolongs it.” ~ Robert Fritz

Holding onto the past obscures our vision of the present. If we are unable to move past our past, the present will look like the past because it's we can see.


To step into a future tbd is key. Your future is TBD (To Be Determined) by you. Events that we plan ahead for direct our actions. The Big Deadlines (TBD) we work towards are what force us into action.

I wrote a lot about effort, and in the end, what motivates us into action are deadlines. Otherwise, we delay indefinitely. When we delay the inevitable indefinitely, we are not creating, we are coping.

I am also reading Rory Vaden's Procrastinate on Purpose and found a common thread:

If you focus on producing results without limiting your ideas about how to create those results, you will come up with amazing solutions.

Fall seven times, stand up eight. ~ Japanese proverb

The main steps of PLR:

1 - begin with the end

Create in your mind what you want to create in reality. You set a prime objective. It can be specific or more obscure. Often you will improvise as you go. It's about setting off on the an intentional path.

In TByL, it's the phase labeled 'Identify meaningful objectives.'

Knowing what you want is a skill itself. This is when you wear the 'Chief Visionary Officer' hat.

The 80/20 principle

There are easy things to do and there are hard things to do… we usually gravitate towards the easy things to do, but the problem is, the easy things usually chew up 80% of your time, yet only produce 20% of your results.  The hard things are likely the 20% of the things you can do (but don’t because they are hard or uncomfortable) yet result in 80% of your results.  Ever notice it’s the last 20% of a project that is often the hardest? And that last 20% never seems to get done, thus you’ve wasted 80% of your effort for no result!

The number of unfinished projects in your life reflects your inability to swallow the frog and do whatever difficult unfinished tasks remain to complete the project.

8020 = it’s doing the right 20%. It’s spending 80% of your effort in 20% of the areas.

Effort & results are never returned in equal amounts. Focus all your energy on the things (& places) that produce 80% of your results.

It’s usually the hard (& uncomfortable) things that are the vital 20%. It’s the easy things we spend 80% of our time – unfortunately, those are the things that usually only produce 20% of the results.

2 - Take stock on actually already exists (Strategic Next Actions)

In TByL, this is the process of creating strategic next actions. These are independent steps where you have the prerequisites already completed.

You need to develop the skill of viewing reality objectively. You hone this skill in the same way you develop a skill of learning music by ear.

Problem solvers distort reality to restore feelings of balance and well-being. In thier minds, they lie, rationalize, and distract themselves for what is actually happening.


Remember what appears complex is really just simple concepts compounded over time. The Solution is 8 UP!

3 - Take Action

In TByL, this is 'Schedule and complete SNAs' phase.

Creating is a matter of invention, rather than convention. This is a key distinction. The creator is constantly experimenting and evaluating their own experiments.

Following the path of least resistance is about knowing when the best course of action is to stop.

The more you create, the more you develop the instinct (or 3rd mind) that allows you to create on the first pass rather than time consuming rework or retry.

Some actions will move you directly to the result you seek but most will not.

The unconventional flaw is to persist with dogged determination when the better course of action is to give up (which is not looked upon favorably by society).

4 - The Creative Cycle

Within the creative process, there are 3 phases in the cycle: 1. Germination 2. Assimilation 3. Completion

Each phase has it's unique challenges. To get beyond our resistance to completion, we must be wiling to accept the results.

The stages of Genesis for each day of creation follow the creative cycle. Germination occurs when a choice is made. "Let there be light." Assimilation occurred with the elements manifested into light. Completion was when God acknowledged the light.

5 - Riding the wave of momentum

I've written about this recently. It's about keeping at it while you have momentum. This was further validated when I learned that it takes on average 23 minutes to get back up to speed where you left off.

The idea of momentum extends beyond a single block of time. You can create momentum in your life. The momentum of health, wealth, and happiness.

Mozart produced his best work years after started. As he kept at it, his work got better and better.

No Obligation

We have no obligation to create anything. In fact, there's no real point in art at all other than to create it. This is a subtle but important distinction. I wrote awhile back about the idea of a balance sheet. The takers keep a balance sheet, givers don't.

Creators create for the sake of creation. They create without expectation for anything beyond the opportunity to create.

This is counter to our society which appears to be built on give & take. Fairness is not an issue when there's no fundamental 'thing' to be fair about.

Can you create simply for the sake of creation? Releasing any expectation of anything beyond the creation itself?

The issue we run into is tied to obligation. Takers expect tit for tat. Rub my back and I'll rub yours. But what if all you actually need was to rub for the sake of rubbing?

Needs vs. Wants

We confuse our needs with our wants. Its an exercise in self-manipulation. We coerce ourselves into believing our desires are our needs. But they aren't. All you truly need to exist is adequate food, water, and shelter. But we live in such an abundant world, we expect to do far more than just exist - we want to thrive. But the want to thrive is not the need to thrive. Thriving is an exception, not a rule. When we expect ourselves to always prosper, to always succeed, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment because we can't always have it that way.

Too often, we are coerced into believing that what we want is in fact something we need. It's the basis of marketing. Given the reality that we are bombarded with more marketing today than ever before, we need to be more diligent as these messages have a tendency to seep into our consciousness whether or not we want them to. I believe that a significant amount of suffering in the world could be avoided if we could see the distinction between our needs and wants more clearly.

A way to put this idea into practice.

When you translate what you want into what you need, it is easier to justify your actions to get it.

When you make your desires appear as needs, you believe you have "no choice" but to work to fulfill them.

This is the catalyst that pulls us into the rat race, but also the same structure that can free us from it.

Resolving Structural Conflict

Tension: A cluttered, messy room. Resolution: An open clean room with space - Feng Shui

The new structure we must adopt as creators is one of structural tension. The way you form structural tension is by first conceiving of the result you want to create and then by observing the relevant current state of reality you have in relation to your desired result.

After you form structural tension, it can only be resolved in one of two ways:

  1. Movement towards the fulfillment of the vision as a new reality.
  2. Continuing with the reality that currently exists.

Listen to this interview with a master creator. There are some amazing insights into John Mayer's structure mentioned:

The only time you know for sure whether creating a result is possible or not is when you have done it. All other thoughts on the matter are speculation.

Those who achieve the unachievable know that truth that current circumstances need not limit what is possible. The definition of creation is just that: to create what was not previously in existence. In other words, to create what was previously uncreated. To achieve the unachievable therefore is simply a matter of creation.

The excuse those who are not creating the results they desire is that their circumstance limit what they can create. They are stuck in the process mentality. To create the uncreated, the path is yet to be written. The process will unfold as you move closer to the result you seek. The only process you need to trust is the one that moves you in the direction of your yet-to-be-created masterpiece.


To see the evidence of of the infinite, one simply need to overcome the limiting belief that our circumstances dictate our outcome. That our past self is any indication of our future self. That we overcome who we've been to become who we desire to be.

"I define magic as seeing the results without seeing the entire process leading to those results." ~ Robert Fritz

Entrepreneurs must possess a good dose of enthusiastic blind naivety.

Path of least resistance in a nutshell

read p.194

The meaning of human endeavor is actions taken to bring into the world the full realization of the vision you hold To be creative. (not in an attempt to regain emotional stability).

Recognize the moments you felt most alive. You were in a creative cycle.

  1. Germination
  2. Assimilation
  3. Completion

It's about changing your fundamental relationship with life though the fundamental choices to act in alignment with your true self, that is to recognize that you are the creative force in your life.

To see with clarity want you truly want as opposed to limiting your wants your circumstances dictate. Meaning a reevaluation of the goals we have been striving to reorient towards an intention rather than a specific outcome.


read the page on assimilation (p200).

For my uke class, explain this process. Explain how discomfort, frustration, and disappointment are good… for they are evidence that they are moving into the assimilation phase! I will have them teach each other what I teach them for it is the path to mastery. I wonder why nobody else teaches this way? I teach, you practice, then you teach. That is how you master it!

There is a big difference between those who live from a reactive-responsive viewpoint, and those who live aligned to their fundamental choices (creatives). Why you live the higher path, you are not pulled into letting circumstances dictate your choices, but rather driven by your fundamental and prime objectives.

You choose

You follow the next step towards that choice. When the outcome is clear, the decision on what to do is obvious. The choices feel natural. You do not force a specific process. You do not second guess yourself. All you have to do is keep moving in the direction of your prime objective!

Reread p. 183. It's the crux of the book!

There is no secret to success. Those who are successful have made the choice to be successful. They may not enjoy all the work it takes to get there, but they do the work nonetheless because the work is the choice to do the work (while secondary) feeds the prime objective (to be successful in [FILL IN THE BLANK]).

Creatives do not compromise their secondary choices to satisfy the needs of others.

The truth of why we fail to achieve our own prime objectives is because we let little things block us from making the secondary choices that lead to the original outcome. This may also be why we lose sight of our prime objective… all the little distractions add up to eventually pull us of the path putting us in the path of mediocrity. The path of nowhere land. The direction of despair.

It's clearly the little choices we make each minute that determine or overall success.

Vision on is my vehicle for creating the records I make, secondary choices are the engine, and it's all a labor of love ~ Jerry Bergonzi.

The prime objective eliminates the issue of conflicting priorities (aka mutually exclusive wants/decisions).

The turmoil you face has everything to do with mutually exclusive desires! They are in conflict with one another, and thus you are in a state of inner turmoil! When you can decide, the PO needs to be clarified.

When the PO (prime objective) is clear, there are no conflicting priorities, only issues of scheduling, assigning, and driving to completion each of the secondary objectives that support the PO.

Evidence of this was at RAGBRAI.

Recall how easy life felt that week, our only objective was to get to the next town. Everything else was handled. Everyone conspired to support our prime objective. Now use that experience as a model for life.

“The human spirit will not invest itself in a compromise.” ~ Robert Fritz p. 167

Vision is one of the components of structural tension. (p.172)

Self propaganda. Dig in into this deeper. Is this what I do? Is this aiding me or limiting me?

When you choose what you truly want, and release to it, you experience clarity, energy, and physician lightness.

First conceive what you want. Hatch the idea.

Second, state it clearly. Commit yourself to it.

I will make it or die trying.

Life is a choice and we must live with the choices we make. Make every choice as if your life depended on it [because it does]. It's the choices we make every moment that matter.

[Implement Brain Maker ~ Your life depends on it!]

The choices we make define the life we live. Life is a choice. It's not enough to chose to live, it's about choosing what to do with the life you've been given. It's about making the most of life, every moment of everyday by choosing and moving with confidence in the direction of your choices. It ll comes back to the choices we make.

Words are powerful. Each day is a new chapter. This is why I write. I write to clarify my vision and reflect on the choices I make. I write to review the choices I've made and contemplate the my next moves. My life review happens daily, not at the end of my life. I live by the CANI mantra - Constant and Never ending Improvement. CANI - the more I try, the more I can. It means I can do more each and every day.

The Prime Choice

To complete the day feeling connected with all of life (especially nature). To deepen my connection.

The Fundamental Choice

A fundamental choice is a choice in which you commit yourself to a basic life orientation or a basic state of being.

Those like Jay Asher made a fundamental choice at some point into their life to pursue an worthy endeavor and that was that. Everything from that point forward was no longer an option. In life, there is no Plan B. There is only Plan A: You will succeed, or die trying. We live our lives based on our fundamental choice. It rules over all the primary and Secondary choices that follow!

A key distinction is to know that the it's not the process that transforms you,

When you make a fundamental choice, convenience and comfort are never an issue.

You must make the fundamental choice to be the predominate creative force in your life!

The gamification of life : the killer app

This is a killer concept.

If you lived your life like a text adventure, how would it play out? How limitless would you become? It's just a game, so you there's no limits to what events could unfold. No limits to your capabilities.

You only need suspend disbelief that anything is possible. the possibilities are endless. The name of the game is ‘your life.’

What If

What if I created an AuthorDock room for all the 50 interviews authors? Then they could help each other and as a unit, we'd move forward and be far more successful.. and new authors could be mentored by those who had gone before.

I could post sales numbers. Helpful advice. Answer the questions, and it would be the only route for authors to get answers…

AuthorDock supports The Path of Least Resistance.

[see p. 183-184] The leader must schedule the results he wants created! He must designate to one or more who shall act. His big vision becomes smaller visions which become the big vision of the agent assigned!


p. 192 Enthusiasm and commitment to a project is all you really can control. So put your trust into that and nothing more.

The key to freeing yourself of unwanted compromises in life lies in the commitment to your fundamental choices.

What is my fundamental choice? To live to my highest potential. To live true to myself. To ultimately bring peace to myself and those around me. To be free of unwanted tension. To be free of desire for circumstances to ever define my choices or self worth. To prove to myself I CAN until I can't. To love with an open heart and accept the love of others.



Successful entrepreneurs have learned to build momentum. To create a pattern of success by intentionally structuring a series of smaller successes that lead to a desired outcome.

Assimilation allows you to build momentum towards new actions.

See every outcome (good or bad) as a learning experience. When you stop experimenting, stop the trial and error process, you stop momentum.


Key point p.224 Experience builds momentum. Even when projects are not successful, you will learn something new. From the perspective of learning something new, the project was successful. Wrong decisions teach us how to make right decisions. The right decision becomes clearer once you've made the wrong decision.

All moments, especially those that seem difficult or hopeless are opportunities for the creative power to be unleashed. Instead of seeing them as problems, see them as strategic moments that are openings for your creative juices to start flowing.

Strategic Moments

The Pivotal Technique

When things are not the way you want them to be, pay attention. It's in these moments where we can redefine our vision (our prime objective) and more accurately assess where we are on path to it.

Step 1: Define where you are (objectively)

From our own perspective, being objective is hard. But as best you can, define what is happening factually.

An objective perspective is one that is not influenced by emotions, opinions, or personal feelings, but rather based in fact, that which is quantifiable and measurable. A subjective perspective is one open to greater interpretation based on personal feeling, emotion, aesthetics, etc.

Step 2: Define where you want to be

Be careful here - what you believe is possible need not be limited by where you are now. A major setbacks will often be painful, and one response is to retracting on your original vision - on what you originally believed was possible before the setback. But to limit yourself to what you believe is possible, based on your current realty, will never get you where you need to go.

Step 3: Recommit

The prime objective never changed, so why let the setback impact it? Setbacks exist to test our commitment to the outcome. Setbacks are like the barries on the road - there's intended to keep us on the road. Indeed, you may suffer some damage when you hit one, but it's better than the alternative, and that's going off-road.

Setups are good! They keep others away. Setbacks are tests of how committed we are to the vision we orginally held.

There's a paradox is looking back. The more time we spend explaining how things are, the less time we spend on how things can be.

Step 4: Move on

This is a key personality trait that those who succeed posses. That is that despite what happened, they are able to get back up and continue. Falling is not Failing. Failing is giving up after you fall. You will fall. It's part of the path. The path to great achievement is never problem free.

How do you move on after a particularly painful setback?

Follow the 4 steps to pivot:
1. Define where you are. 2. Define where you are heading. 3. Recommit. 4. Move on.

Specifically, try shifting your focus to something else. Physical change helps. Get up and take a walk. Take 10 deep breaths. Meditate. Take 5.

What seems counter productive in the heat of the setback is often what is needed. When you find yourself stuck in a whole, stop digging. We often don't even know we've been derailed until we see we are off track. Reassess your current situation.

When French mathematician Henri Poincaré was stuck trying to solve a complex equation, he took an nap and often awoke with the answer.

As writers, we'll often hit what appear to be stops. We are unable to continue. Author Gertrude Stein offers a key insight on writing:

Writing a book is a creative process in and of itself. The creation unfolds as it's created. The words are unknown until they are written. If you knew every word to write, it wouldn't be creation, it'd be dictation.


Those who frustrate you, often due to a misunderstanding, reveal an area of tension to resolve. While at the time, they can appear to be slowing down the process, what they help reveal is room for improvement.


The best we can do when we miss a deadline is to set another, for we are more likely to hit it the second time because hopefully we are much closer to it.

Compare yourself to no one else, because who you are is beyond comparison.

The Prodigal Son

Robert ends the book with a different take on an old parable. The prodigal son is one of two sons who ventures into the world and takes on the creative orientation. Upon returning home, the father welcomes him and loves him more than the good son who stayed home to support his father.

The father and the two sons represents the self. The prodigal son represents the part of ourself that goes astray. The good son is the part of you that has been attempting to do the right things for all your life. The good son has been in a reactive-responsive orientation in an effort to please his father, but in a way manipulating himself in the process. The people pleaser in you. But paradoxically, it's the good son aspect of you that resists the reintegration of the self.

One-Way Agreement

In a one-way agreement, the other party never agreed, usually because they were unaware of the agreement to begin with.

Personally, this caused torment in my own life. When we moved back to California, I made a one-way agreement with a particular friend that we'd see her more often than we did when we lived in Colorado. The fact is she never agreed to it. We see her as much as we did when we lived in Colorado, no more. Her agreement with me never changed. But I made it into a big deal because in my mind, we had an agreement. This happens far more frequently than we think.

From the PoLR:

The good son made a one-way bargain. His bargain was that his dad would accept him if he played the role of good soon. When the 'bad' son returns, and the father rewards him, the truth is revealed. His father never agreed to the bargain because he didn't know one existed!

This is a key concept. It's the idea that we often make one sided bargains with others, or even ourself.

The issue of one-way bargaining is not limited to one-way unspoken agreements. Take for example when you receive a text - or don't receive a response. Or the response feels short and contrived. The key word here is feels. I can't control how something I say or do (or don't say and don'd do) makes you feel.

In the give & take mindset, it's the profile of the individual who seeks a equal exchange in life. I do for you, so you do for me later. A debt owed mentality. But when that debt goes unpaid, we feel cheated. The individual from who we made a one-way bargain with never agreed to the deal in the first place.

When you assume that if you do something, the world owes you anything, you are living a false belief as the good son did. We can control our effort, but not the results that come from them. Life is not fair. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you can move into the creative orientation.

The shift towards a creative orientation would have led the son to actions he wanted, in which the actions themselves are the reward.

Final Thoughts

The nature of creative energy is not to run down, but to increase and multiple itself. Each stage gives you energy to move to the next (when done correctly). The momentum from germination carries you into assimilation. The energy of assimilation moves you into completion. Momentum of completion moves you into a new germination. The cycle never ends.

There is a stark similarity my writings on project based living and the cycle of creativity that Robert gets into in chapter 11.

Assimilation is the most critical phase since it's where the creation occurs. It's also the most difficult given it's where we will hit the major obstacles. It's the action that stems from the genesis and precedes completion. It's where you teach yourself the steps to fulfill the vision from the germination. The seed of the idea either grows or dies depending on the level of assimiliation.

Assimliation can be fueled by a lower level of obsession.

Assimilation generates momentum. Each discovery leads to the next best action. There is a degree of assimilation that occurs just below the surface. Beyond what we can see. It's occuring slowly, and the key is to be patient.

Grasping the completion phase... This is an area I personally struggle in. Even Robert states Few people have mastered this stage.

Completion is defined as bringing the vision to fruition, manifesting the whole, finishing, following through, completing the cycle, and living with your creation. Millions of would be entrepreneurs fail to make their ideas financially viable.

Your creation is like giving birth to a child - it will assume it's own identify and become a creator itself. Just as parents struggle with letting their children go (and grow), creators struggle with letting their work go. Remember this key point: the nature of the creation is not to run down, but to increase and multiply itself through it's own creations. This is the core of all creation.

He revisits the concept of completion in Chapter 17 where he gets into why we resist completion and often divert just before we cross the line. There's perhaps even a tie back to the Tall Poppy Syndrome where human nature is to cut ourselves down when we find ourselves with our necks to far out.

Chapter 12 dives into the challenge of choice and how it inhibits germination. To sum it up:

When you make a formal choice, you activate the seed of germination. All your energies align to thrust you towards your choice. The creative cycle begins. The resistence is that the choice thrusts us into the unknown, given many choices have never been choosen before. Know that uncertinity will be replaced by clarity, energy, a confidence. Regardless of the result, your choices have power, and the results that occur will be the source of power, no matter what those results are.

Chapter 13 gives clarity into the distinction of 3 types of choices we make: * Fundamental * Primary * Secondary

The main point is to align all 3 and that clarity in your fundamental choice is key. For example: To make true fundamental choice of freedom, you first acknowledge what freedom means to you (the why behind the what) and then how takes care of itself. It's about 1. Knowing what you want and then 2. Choosing your decisions to fulfil what you want.

When what we do is in alignment to what we want, there is little resistance. Decisions are not difficult. The prime objectives are clear and little else matters. When you really live this way, your life goes through a fundamental shift. How you live your life is no longer a question. Who you are has little to do with who you become. You get past your past. The best way to experience the power of fundamental choices is to start making them.

Chapter 14 is all about assimilation and change.

Within the creative process, the changes become your ally. You begin to recognize that life is what propels you toward your vision and life becomes an ally, not an adversary. You begin cooperating with life and co-creating with others. Nothing is seen as a threat, because threats are simple there to redirect you to the opposite of itself.

Assimilation begins inside and is brought into the world as you give birth to your creation. Your actions speak louder than words - as they are a expression of your creativity. It's apparent you are externalizing when you begin to speak, communicate, and act in ways that are consistent with your inner vision. You will notice your sentences evolve to reflect the thoughts and ideas. You begin to think, dream, and speak with new words. Words are powerful. Consider that those who are drawn to how you speak will propel you forward, those who are not are only going to hold you back.

Assimilation is a necessary part of life. The tension that keeps the momentum of living is the space between what is and what isn't. It's not that we have problems to solve, it's that we have visions to fulfill. Nobody will give you permission but yourself. There is no external trigger stronger than your own will to evolve. Your future life should bring tears to your eyes. When the emotions are powerful enough to take your breath away, you will be elated in every step in that direction. We don't step back, we step forward. Your future ought to be your obsession.

I've been processing an issue with money and wrote The Millionaire Mindset. Just as employees have different beliefs than creativepreneurs, those who live with an abundance of wealth have different beliefs than those who struggle financially. I am often drawn back to the story of Ellen Degeneres lived on a can of soup but never worried about money.

“I didn’t worry even when I didn’t have any [money]. I was living on a can of soup every single day. And I would eat it out of the can because I didn’t have a kitchen,” she says. “I would live paycheck to paycheck, but I never worried. I was living. I think that’s part of my mentality about money. My parents always worried about it, and we never had any. You put that energy out there, and it’s like, ‘Well then, we’re going to give you what you’re asking for.'”

Living day to day with the worry that you don't have enough money is extremely draining. It drains energy you could be allocating more productively (like doing the things than earn money).

I used to fret about how many beers I'd bring to a friends house and how much it cost me by leaving what I didn't drink behind. I used to fret about throwing spoiled food away because of the money wasted. It was all worry about things in the past, things I couldn't change.

Once I let go of the idea of wasting money already spent, I begin to focus on ways to more effectively use my money in the future. I begin to pay more attention to the food I purchased, the dates of expiration, and play out the future more accurately. Starting with letting go of the cost of gasoline, I begin to buy less of what I'd buy, but more of what I'd want. I was spending less time with more of it so I could enjoy more time with less of it.

What's clear to me now is that life is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe that you won't have enough money to travel, you will take travel off your list of options. If you worry about how much money a meal out will cost, then you won't eat out... and if you do, you'll fret over the cost of the meal which will lessen the enjoyment of that meal for yourself and everyone with you.

Being free is about free of worry about the future. As Ellen demonstrates so well, your life will always accommodate the circumstances of it. Those who make more spend more. The key is to pay attention to where your energy is flowing.

Momentum is bring your best self to each moment. Regardless of how uncomfortable they are - It's the realization that the most difficult moments we live through are in fact the ones that carry us furthest towards completion.

He ends with a manifesto for his philosophy. That we creative alignment is not a focus on solving problems, but by rather by creating what matters most.

Our lives are defined by the decisions we make and the decisions we make define who we become. It matters now where we came from, but what matters is how we respond our circumstances right now.

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