Sometimes we lack the patience needed to let things run their course. And by taking action at the wrong times or in the wrong ways we create problems that would not have otherwise occurred. Or as Lao Tzu said, “rushing into action, you fail. Trying to grasp things, you lose them. Forcing a project to completion, you ruin what was almost ripe.”
And when we try too hard to force a particular outcome, anything or anyone that keeps us from making it happen may seem like an enemy, even loved ones. There are times when certain circumstances or people keep us from doing things that need to be done, but many times it’s not circumstances or people who get in the way, it’s our own desire to control a particular outcome that either cannot or doesn’t need to be controlled.
I’m thankful that I didn’t get all of the things I wanted. Many of the things I wanted weren’t right for me and something better usually came along instead. Sometimes we have to let go and trust that if it’s meant to be it will workout if we remain patient and allow time to be our ally.
How many times have you wanted something so bad, didn’t get it, and were ultimately better off for not getting it? It happens a lot, doesn’t it? Conversely, how many times has something really cool happened to you when you least expected it? How many important people have come into your life through no real planning of your own? How many times have you ended up with something better than you thought you wanted?
If we stopped striving for the things we want and were willing to be more patient, we would find that things generally workout for the best and with a lot less self-induced stress.
The idea of doing nothing and allowing things to work themselves out or waiting for solutions to present themselves seems unrealistic and passive. But this “go with the flow” philosophy is not about accepting everything as it is and refraining from ever trying to change things. Going with the flow is not about inaction. It’s about recognizing when it’s time to take action and when it’s time to let things be. It’s about controlling the things that can and need to be controlled and learning to accept the things that cannot.