Going with the flow is about learning to become comfortable with uncertainty, and learning how to exploit the potential hidden within it, both to feel better in the present and to achieve more success in the future.
Uncertainty is where things happen.
It is where the opportunities – for success, for happiness, for really living – are waiting.
The 2 foundations to embracing uncertainty are acceptance and flexibility.
As the psychologist Dorothy Rowe put it so elegantly:
"The only way to cope with all this uncertainty is to accept that it is so."
Professor Saras Sarasvathy, commenting on her findings in an indepth study of 45 successful entrepreneurs noted that the most valuable skill of a successful entrepreneur:
“...isn’t vision or passion or a steadfast insistence on destroying every barrier between yourself and some prize...."
Rather, it’s flexibility and the capacity to:
"Adopt an unconventional approach to learning: an improvisational flexibility not merely about which route to take towards some predetermined objective, but also a willingness to change the destination itself."
A practical business example of going with the flow.
A practical business example of going with the flow was the late, but largely now forgotten, businessman Henry Singleton. He was one of the most successful businessmen ever - and highly rated by Warren Buffet [amongst others]. He had a 25 year track record of 18% growth year on year for each of those years!
Commenting on goals and flexibility Singleton said:
“I know a lot of people have very strong and definite plans that they’ve worked out on all kinds of things, but we’re subject to a tremendous number of outside influences and the vast majority of them cannot be predicted.
So my idea is to stay flexible. My only plan is to keep coming to work. … I like to steer the boat each day rather than plan ahead way into the future."
The Taoist practise of Wu Wei is about "doing without doing" or living your life in alignment with the flow of life - quite literally going with the flow.
This becomes possible when we accept that:
“Everything in life has its own flow, its own pace and speed.
If we can tune into and align ourselves with it, we can achieve without undue exertion and enjoy effortless ease in all that we do. We find that we instinctively know what to do and when to do it.
What Wu Wei means in practice
Doing without doing:
This belief causes us to create in reverse
We are brought up to believe that we get what we want in life as a
result of what we do, by the actions that we take.
But we do not understand the power of our
energy. As a result of this we so often end up "chasing our tails" to
make up for the impacts of our unintentional negative energy.
Most of our actions are out of fear, worry or doubt
The issue that we all face is that we are obsessed with doing, and that inevitably involves some form of struggle.
Those of us from a western influenced background are culturally conditioned to an action orientation, and thus we automatically place a great value on activity.
Unfortunately, what we don't understand is that we are creating in a “reverse” fashion.
It is not your action alone that makes things happen, it is also your energy state
It took me countless years to understand this dynamic of going with the flow! Years and years of
working so hard, striving so hard… always pushing, pushing… yet the
harder I pushed the further away seemed to be the results that I sought.
Eventually I came to understand that I needed to reduce my actions and increase my focus on managing my energetic state until I could feel the positive energy beginning to move within me. In contrast to my repeated efforts over so many years, this was not an energy based on doubt, fear, anxiety, worry or need. I learned to apply the following truth:
If you focus on the
energy - the feeling - of what you do want instead of what you don't
want, you will know when it is time to take action, and what action to
take. This is the balance of being and doing
And when you do, it will be effortless. Doors open and it will seem as if the entire universe is on your side.
I once described a personal experience of this as like having a big red carpet unrolling in front of me and all I had to do was keep moving fast enough to keep up with it!
What I have learned the hard way over many, many years, and without doubt or reservation, is that we need to use the leverage of energy - the same energy that creates everything in the universe – The Energy Of Life.
You may have noticed that some people seem to lead a “charmed life” or have “the Midas touch”. It can appear as though they have an advantage over everyone else.
At the other end of the spectrum there are so many people who strive so hard and yet achieve so little for all their effort. This may not seem fair but in all of my lived and observed experience of life that really does seem to be how The Energy Of Life works.
That doesn't seem fair does it? But all the evidence seems to suggest to me that's the way the universe works.
We are culturally conditioned and brought up to believe that there is “no gain without pain” and whilst there is a truth in that, it is not the whole picture.
What matters is the energetic state applied to all that effort.
Actions are necessary, but they aren't the only component of the creation process
alone cannot be used effectively to initiate results, because
initiation is the function of your inner energetic state of being, then
follows the thought, and then the action.
So the creation of anything we apply ourselves to is first through our energetic state and secondly the accompanying action.
in an energetic universe held together in The Energy Of Life and it is
by the exercising and management of our energetic state, by going with the flow, that we
harmonise and attract experiences to ourselves.
So before you act or do anything, check in with yourself, and ask: “what is my energy state?”
What is the simplest way to tell? You can tell by how you feel. Your feelings show you your vibration/energy state.
How you feel - your energetic state - determines what you attract, and the accompanying action seals the deal
When you do it this way you will find that The Energy Of Life will provide you with a different set of circumstances for you that requires much less action.
Further Reading: Trying Too Hard
Return from "Going With The Flow" to: Walking The Talk
Or to: Renewing Your Mind