Be Like Water: How To Survive Life

This seems to be a theme in my life lately. Things are going well, the water is calm, and all is peaceful in the world. Projects are on time, work is getting done, and there is time left over to enjoy it.

Then the storm comes, or the unexpected waterfall, or whatever other water analogies you can think of. Things come crashing down, the ship gets overturned, and life as you knew it disappears.

Having a rough day? Why, yes I am!

First things first, its good to remind yourself that you aren’t really in control of a lot of things. No matter how hard you try, things break, take longer then expected, you get sick, people move on, and of course you move on.

Luckily, things often have a temporary nature to them. “This too shall pass” is still one of the greatest pieces of wisdom passed down through the centuries.

If you are in a hard spot, you don’t want to hear this. If you are in a good spot, you don’t want to hear this. We have a habit of thinking things will last forever. Fortunately, or unfortunately, they don’t.

“Nothing in the world is more flexible and yielding than water. Yet when it attacks the firm and the strong, none can withstand it, because they have no way to change it. So the flexible overcome the adamant, the yielding overcome the forceful. Everyone knows this, but no one can do it.” – Lao Tzu

Why is this so hard to do? Because we are unyielding creatures. We believe in our power more and more each day. Some of this is to be expected and is right. The doctor knows he is better when more people live, and live well because of him. The business person knows they are better when more people buy their product, and get satisfaction out of it.

These are all fine and good examples of trusting in our power and natural abilities. Yet no matter how good you are, people will die, and people will say no to your product.

It is in water that we find the answer. It’s persistence over time wears entire mountains away. It is used to both create life (all plants and animals need water to survive), and take it away (through flooding and drowning.)

If we can be more like water. Strong yet flexible. Charging ahead with our plans, yet being flexible enough to move around the inevitable disappointments and setbacks we will encounter, we will truly do well in this life…