“Our culture is very good at pushing people to work hard or acquire particular technical skills,” Dr. Slingerland says. “But in many domains actual success requires the ability to transcend our training and relax completely into what we are doing, or simply forget ourselves as agents.”
He likes the compromise approach of Mencius, a Chinese philosopher in the fourth century B.C. who combined the Confucian and Taoist approaches: Try, but not too hard. Mencius told a parable about a grain farmer who returned one evening exhausted from his labors.
“I’ve been out in the fields helping the sprouts grow,” he explained, whereupon his worried sons rushed out to see the results. They found a bunch of shriveled sprouts that he’d yanked to death.
The sprouts were Mencius’ conception of wu wei: Something natural that requires gentle cultivation. You plant the seeds and water the sprouts, but at some point you need to let nature take its course. Just let the sprouts be themselves.
I loved this NY Times article [excerpt above]: Meditation on the Art of Not Trying
I read/write about effortless action or flow all the time. I find it fascinating. This article discusses the eastern history of the art of effortless grace.
In a way it’s that ephemeral balance we are always seeking. We want to try, but not too hard. It’s kinda like putting on just the right amount of makeup to create that natural look.
It’s playing “the game” in dating: not showing too much interest and timing the calls, texts, emails just right.
It’s kind of a dance. We tango in business, politics, sports, love, even by ourselves.
Well, I’m a big advocate of letting go. Mostly because I believe we are all wound too tight and carry the false belief that we have way more control over this ride than we really do.
Like holding onto the safety bar is really gonna help, ha!
Throw your arms up instead and give your best brave face or big laughing smile for the hidden camera on the third loop.
One of my fave phrases from 2014 was “Authenticity is the new paycheck.”
It’s that simple: Just be yourself.
Which, I swear, only takes tons of practice;)
I leave you with this: Let it go — in more ways than one.
Kat Hurley is a transformational author, speaker and personal development coach, making over motivation @The Year of Magical Dreaming. For the full 411, visit kathurley.com, yo!