Go With The Flow

When You Feel Like You Can’t Really Change Anything

When you feel like you can’t change anything about your current situation…you are wrong. You can…but maybe not the way you’re used to doing things.

Unfortunately, most of us have a misguided impression that if something isn’t quite the way we want it to be we should be able to fix it in a snap…and if that doesn’t work then just chuck it. But that doesn’t work so well when it comes to life’s big issues. Sometimes you have no choice but to gut your way up from the end of the rope you’re hanging onto…inch by laborious inch. Maybe that’s not the kind of change you were thinking of…but it might be better than staying in the pit.

I Want It Now!

Most times our struggles are mental reactions against the universe…and it’s a timing thing. We want what we want, when we want it…it’s the product of living in a micro-wave society. More often than not the universe drags its feet…much like a 7 year old headed upstairs to pick up his room. We say, “I want it NOW!” The universe says, “I’m going, I’m going. Jeez!” The distance between what we want and when we get it…if ever…is called struggle.

Go With The Flow

So what’s the answer? How can we struggle less…and enrich our :30 at the same time? We’ve heard it said before (which BTW makes me wonder why the hell I’m writing this particular entry)…but I think sometimes we just need to go with the flow. This seems like a good time to introduce an analogy.

Fantasy Island

Imagine the perfect little island somewhere on the horizon…surrounded by a crystal blue ocean…the sun dancing on the waves. THAT is where you want to be because life is good there. Here is not where you want to be, so you decide to take the plunge…and swim to your island of happiness. (Forget the idea of taking a boat. We’re talking about real life here…um…in an imaginary, metaphorical kind of way. You have to work to get what you want. Sorry…I don’t make the rules…I just point them out.)

The water feels good and you’re excited because it won’t be long before you are enjoying life on your dream island. You will finally be happy.
And then you notice that you are swimming against some pretty powerful currents. They are swirling around you…almost holding you back. You can see your island…but you are making precious little progress when you compare it to the effort you’re putting in. “That’s fine,” you think. “I’ll just swim harder and plow through…I want my island!”

And so you do. You put everything you’ve got behind each stroke…and it actually kind of works. You ARE getting closer…but not quickly enough…and soon you are tired and a little discouraged. That’s when your mind says, “This is way too hard! I don’t like this. I want to be there NOW!” This is struggling…and you spend a lot of time there.

Conventional wisdom says you can do one of two things here:

1)Grit your teeth and swim even harder.
2)Bag it and go back to shore.

No offense to the “Think Like a Champion an Win!” series of motivational tapes (I made that up)…but I think there is a 3rd option.

Slow Down…You’ll Get There Quicker

Maybe when this critical juncture hits you can do something else…like stop swimming and let the currents carry you for a little while. You’ll need to tread water to stay afloat…but you can do so as you keep your island in sight and see where those currents take you. Maybe they’ll take you to your island without any effort at all. It probably won’t…but you can keep yourself on course by swimming every once in a while.

The point is you can use the very thing that seems to be holding you back to help you get where you want to go. Don’t fight against the current(reality)so much. Accept what it is…and let it do some of the work for you.

NOTE: Be sure to keep your island in sight…and swim toward it when you can. After all, we’re talking about the universe here. It sort of needs to know where you want to go. When you get there is clearly not always in your control…so use the down time to catch your breath…and notice the sun…and feel it. There are worse things than swimming in the ocean…and you’ll get to that island if you want it bad enough.

Published in: on December 29, 2008 at 2:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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