“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
― Lao Tzu
Whenever I feel overwhelmed, stressed, or that life isn’t going my way, I look to the East.
Western society is built upon hard, grueling work. It is built upon trying to bulldozer our way through every minute obstacle we may face.
Most of the things we accomplish seem to be through extreme exertion and mental strain, often at the cost of our own mental health.
When I personally feel anxious due to the demands of a society such as ours, I look to the wisdom of the East.
The philosophy of Taoism promotes the idea of flow, which has also been recently popularised by productivity gurus, who may have taken the Taoist concept out of context a little.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” -Lao Tzu
The concept of flow, or Wu Wei, heavily advocates paying attention to nature and almost imitating how it functions, and how it flows.
Taoism suggests that we should not try to swim against the current, as seems to be the way in Western society, but instead simply let the current take us where it pleases.
Nature is an interconnected system, in which everything has its place, its job to do, in which everything flows, without expectation, without ambition.
Let’s take the common example of water. Water does not exert itself, it does not try. Water takes the path of least resistance, yet always manages to find a way to slowly break down the hardest of obstacles.
Water is a perfect example of Wu Wei.
We should all be a little bit more like water.
Water doesn’t care about the results. Water isn’t trying to accomplish anything, it is simply focused on the present, on the task at hand.
This is where the idea of flow can benefit our lives.
In the West, we are driven by results. We do things because we think that they will afford us with money, status, power or accomplishment.
However, when we are in a state of flow, we don’t think about the results, we just think about the present, about the next, smallest step to take, the next word to type or the next brick to lay.
This is the state that allows us to actually achieve huge amounts when we’re not actually focused on achieving anything at all. All we’re doing is slowly chipping away, with minimal effort, engaged with the present, absorbed by flow.
So when you’re worried about not getting results, not achieving what you had hoped to achieve, not having the life you desire, forget about it and bring flow into your life, and you’ll probably achieve more than you had ever hoped for.