I’m on vacation right now and while sitting on a beautiful beach watching the waves roll in, I was reminded of rip currents and the approach you take to escape them. Therein lies an important lesson that can be generally applied to much of our lives.
The worst thing you can do is to fight the rip current by swimming against it. You will quickly become exhausted and in danger of drowning. The way to escape a rip current is very simple: you calmly swim parallel to the shore (perpendicular to the current) until you are out of it. With a fraction of the energy needed to swim against the current and almost certain failure, you can swim away from the current and live.
Resistance and struggle against that which opposes you or that which you don’t like is very often the worst thing you can do. Just like the rip current, you should generally step aside and just watch whatever is bothering you roll on by.
Instead of wasting your energy on the negative, you can focus it on the positive and with far less effort achieve far greater results. Certainly there are some things you should resist and there are things I will and do resist. But I chose my battles very carefully now and they are becoming increasingly rare.
I’m convinced that most of what we resist accomplishes little more than making us miserable and sometimes amplifies the problem rather than diminishing it. Resisting the nutjob in Florida planning to burn the Koran, increased his audience from about 50 people to hundreds of millions.
I spent decades of my life resisting almost everything I didn’t like and it was an enormous mistake. My youthful idealism and cockiness led me to believe I might be able to change something or convince somebody they were doing it wrong. I ended up frustrated and stressed. I learned years ago to let go of many of the big things, but for some reason I thought I could still resist the small. It’s only in the last few years I’ve begun to stop resisting those small things as well. I’ve found they grow even smaller as a result.
When you resist something you immediately make it a much bigger deal in your own life than it would otherwise have been. Whether it’s the government, toxic people, traffic, bureaucracy, the media, the masses, the neighbors, unpleasant tasks, poor design, inconsiderate bozos, or or anything else, do your best to step to the side and ignore it. Let the currents rip by you without allowing them to suck your precious life out of you. You need to conserve your energy in order to progress your agenda. Sometimes this is easy and sometimes it is difficult, but in most cases you will be better off. I suggest you seriously consider it.
I have a long way to go, but I’m getting much better at not resisting that which I don’t like. As a result, I’ve discovered a much better way to live and that same way is available to anyone who is willing to give it a chance. Stop resisting life!
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