One of the most powerful elements in the world is water. It can be calm, soft and soothing, but consider the powerful strength behind a tsunami or 20 foot wave, hurricanes, pressurized water can cut metal and over time it erodes anything in its path. In life we encounter obstacles and challenges that stand in our way. The numerous challenges cannot be controlled and not only are challenges uncontrollable, daily life events are also uncontrollable even if you try to control it as much as possible.
Think of an obstacle in life like a rock standing in your path. If you try to push it away, you exert energy and might not budge the rock. If you try to ignore it, it is still there waiting to stand in your way. If you observe water in a stream, as it approaches a rock, it simply goes through it, around it and gets past it. In time that rock will be eroded into dust and carried away. The one thing you can control is how you handle events that come into your life. Control your mind and thoughts by channeling the flow of events with fluidity. In Taoism, it is believed that you are stronger by having a softness that allows you to bend and adapt. Lets say you did not hired or promoted for a position you wanted. You can either allow your emotions to take over, feel anger or let negative thoughts rule your mind, instead of moving past it and learning from the experience, prepare for another opportunity. In life we cannot always control what happens, but we can control our thoughts.
In martial arts as well as in life, Bruce Lee believed this way of thinking and with his, “Tao of Jeet Kun Do”, he stated, “Be like water, making its way through cracks”. How I interpret this is that some people may encounter a wall and stop but those who are like water will find the cracks in the wall and get past the wall. The wall is the obstacle, it is up to you to be fluid or to decide to make that wall stop you. He also stated, “Don’t be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.”
We are all mostly made of water, but most of us are frozen and rigid. By allowing ourselves to dissolve into water we can be fluid and powerful like water and go through any obstacles that stand in our way. The following video is of Bruce Lee speaking of being like water as well as martial arts. I apply lessons learned from martial arts and the mental toughness it provides to use in business, life and self. Take a look… and be like water my friend!