Going with the Flow in Business and LifeMar 21, 2022
Posted on March 21, 2022 by Jordan Dessauer
I was getting on a plane this last week and the national weather scene was one that makes for challenging travel. Due to a major winter storm that was centered around the Southeast part of the country and quickly heading up the East coast, many airports were starting to shut down. This delayed many flight across the country. Including mine.
As you sit at the airport, knowing your are away from your family, your comfortable house, and anticipating a busy week, people typically get anxious. I was no different. I couldn’t believe how I was getting delayed and was probably not able to get to my destination until wee hours in the morning. I would get very little sleep before my day of meetings and presentations. I started to go through my new found process of controlled breathing that I have written before in my blogs.
I finally got on the plane after a two and a half hour delay and I was headed to Phoenix. The book I’m reading called Focus, by Leo Babauta was with me and I started to read as I sat on the plane. Have you ever experienced a situation in real life only to read about it or see it on t.v. shortly there after? Well, that’s exactly what happened to me. I learned and confirmed something for me in business and in life.
Leo was talking about how we need to make sure we take life as it comes to you. “Go with the flow” was the name of the section. I wanted to make sure I plug the author again, Leo Babauta, who has a very popular blog site www.zenhabits.net Leo also does something very cool, he puts all his work on public domain to be used by the public in any way. (Very Cool! Please support his site if you get a chance!)
I was reading from the book and this is the section that I came to:
1. Realize that you can’t control everything. I think we all know this at some level, but the way we think and act and feel many times contradicts this basic truth. We don’t control the universe, and yet we seem to wish we could. All the wishful thinking won’t make it so. You can’t even control everything within your own little sphere of influence — you can influence things, but many things are simply out of your control. In the example above, you can control your morning routine, but there will be things that happen from time to time (someone’s sick, accident happens, phone call comes at 5 a.m. that disrupts things, etc.) that will make you break your routine. First step is realizing that these things will happen. Not might happen, but will. There are things that we cannot control that will affect every aspect of our lives, and we must must accept that, or we will constantly be frustrated. Meditate on this for a while.
2. Breathe. When you feel yourself getting angry or frustrated, take a deep breath. Take a few. This is an important step that allows you to calm down and do the rest of the things below. Practice this by itself and you’ll have come a long way already.
3. Get perspective. If you get angry over something happening —your car breaks down, your kids ruin something you’re working on — take a deep breath, and take a step back. Let your mind’s eye zoom away, until you’re far away above your life. Then whatever happened doesn’t seem so important. A week from now, a year from now, this little incident won’t matter a single whit. No one will care, not even you. So why get upset about it? Just let it go, and soon it won’t be a big deal.
4. Practice. It’s important to realize that, just like when you learn any skill, you probably won’t be good at this at first. Who is good when they are first learning to write, or read, or drive? No one I know. Skills come with practice. So when you first learn to go with the flow, you will mess up. You will stumble and fall. That’s OK — it’s part of the process. Just keep practicing, and you’ll get the hang of it.
5. Laugh. It helps to see things as funny, rather than frustrating. Car broke down in the middle of traffic and I have no cell phone or spare tire? Laugh at my own incompetence. Laugh at the absurdity of the situation. That requires a certain amount of detachment — you can laugh at the situation if you’re above it, but not within it. And that detachment is a good thing. If you can learn to laugh at things, you’ve come a long way. Try laughing even if you don’t think it’s funny — it will most likely become funny.
6. Realize that you can’t control others. This is one of the biggest challenges. We get frustrated with other people, because they don’t act the way we want them to act. Maybe it’s our kids, maybe it’s our spouse or significant other, maybe it’s our coworker or boss, maybe it’s our mom or best friend. But we have to realize that they are acting according to their personality, according to what they feel is right, and they are not going to do what we want all of the time. And we have to accept that. Accept that we can’t control them, accept them for who they are, accept the things they do. It’s not easy, but again, it takes practice.
7. Accept change and imperfection. When we get things the way we like them, we usually don’t want them to change. But they will change. It’s a fact of life. We cannot keep things the way we want them to be … instead, it’s better to learn to accept things as they are. Accept that the world is constantly changing, and we are a part of that change. Also, instead of wanting things to be “perfect” (and what is perfect anyway?), we should accept that they will never be perfect, and we must accept good instead.
8. Enjoy life as a flow of change, chaos and beauty. Remember when I asked what “perfect” is, in the paragraph above? It’s actually a very interesting question. Does perfect mean the ideal life and world that we have in our heads? Do we have an ideal that we try to make the world conform to? Because that will likely never happen. Instead, try seeing the world as perfect the way it is. It’s messy, chaotic, painful, sad, dirty … and completely perfect. The world is beautiful, just as it is. Life is not something static, but a flow of change, never staying the same, always getting messier and more chaotic, always beautiful. There is beauty in everything around us, if we look at it as perfect.
“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”– Lao Tzu
“Wealth has nothing to do with money, success has everything to do with failure, and life is as simple as you want to make it.”
– John Dessauer
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