Going with the flow to keep moving forward
It can be so easy to get stuck when we either remain rigidly focused on one thing without allowing ourselves to deviate or when we stubbornly keep fighting what is happening.
I have been in a bit of an odd situation for over ten years. It's not that I am a migrant in a country with a culture that is not the easiest in the world, although that is challenging enough. No, there has been a disruptive influence in my life.
I know. They say "disrupt or be disrupted". But that sounds a bit too harsh to me. You do not have to be disruptive and unyielding to influence the state of things.
Take water. When there is a spring tide, the force of water can be immensely disruptive. I'm from a country of which a large part is under sea level, so I am quite aware of that.
But the steady trickle of a thin flow of water or the persistent slide of the same drop through a tiny hole over and over again can have its own remarkable impact. It's that steady trickle that can wear down rocks, whereas the massive energy of a wave in the surf, although disruptive, will not have any effect on the rock at all.
Repetition seems to be what matters, not force, not disruptive power.
But if you keep repeating the same thing over and over, rigidly, you can get stuck.
There is this thin line between giving up too soon and sticking with something for too long.
On the left side of the above image, you see the person who rigidly is sticking to a goal, refusing to deviate.
On the right side, you see that someone else gave up to soon. That usually means that you gave in to an internal force or that the internal voice that made you focus on the goal was not strong enough.
This is about the balance between avoiding discomfort (avoiding the effort of continuing to dig, avoiding disappointment by giving up) and seeking meaning (going for the diamond but also realizing that the diamond may not be where you think it is). If the man on the left keeps digging, he will eventually find the diamond. Or rather, it will find him when the hole caves in because he refuses to deviate. But the man on the right will never find the diamond because he told himself that it wasn't there, that there was nothing to be found.
It's about risk, then. About how much risk you are willing to take, on the one hand, and how much powerlessness you are willing to put up with, on the other. (Breaking powerlessness requires taking risks.)
I was watching a YouTube video when I realized that I am more or less living with the adult version of a combination of a special-needs child and a troll. I watched how a dad instead of continuing to push against unyielding circumstances allowed those circumstances to push him in a different direction.
I was looking for a way forward for myself at the time, looking for something that would enable me to remain effective for my clients without exposing them too much to the hurricane that sweeps through my life from time to time.
I have little control over that "hurricane" and it often gobbles up a lot of my head space. And as it knows its way around electronics a million times better than I do, it can have a negative impact on clients.
So I needed to find something on which such a hurricane has much less of an impact.
You do that by going with the flow. You don't fight the hurricane, you let it push you. The strongest buildings in a fierce storm or earthquake are those that move with the forces of that storm and of the earthquake. It's the rigid buildings that snap and collapse.
Then I found it.
(Maybe I had been trying too hard to be unique by not budging?)
I suddenly remembered that in the past, I sometimes said that I wish I could clone myself so that I could send my clone to events that I was not able to attend.
I can be that clone for other people. If it is impossible for you to be at a conference or debate, yet you really want to know what x has to say or really want to be able to say "x, y, z!" during a debate, you can send me.
I can meet with you, either in real life or via a video link, let you brief me on what you would like to get out of the event and you send me off. It could also be a great way of attending "incognito" for you.
Then I report back.
What's not to like? The fact that I don't know yet how real this need is in the world out there... But haven't we all more than once heard someone say "Oh, I really wish I could be there!"
I could also occasionally deliver a talk for anyone who was scheduled to be there but, say, came down with the flu or ended up in the emergency room. It would not be as great as when they would deliver it themselves, but it beats not getting their voice heard at all.
In order to do this well, I will have to let go a little bit more, yield a little bit more, so that I can be as neutral as possible, and become the best clone possible for who hires me.
This does not mean that I have to let go of my own ethical compass and my own principles. Not at all. I will not go to a conference to spout racism and I will not attend conferences that discuss how to keep more animals in smaller spaces, for example. But when I am there, I have to be the clone of the person I represent, and let go of my own ego.
While working this out in my mind, I can imagine all sorts of options and see all the opportunities in it.
And I got to this point after I stopped fighting the hurricane and allowed it to push me.