Navigate Uncertain Times With This Full-Proof Coping Mechanism We're in uncertain times, which means it's necessary to separate what's in our control from what's not — letting the uncontrollable unfold without judgment or exertion on our part.
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These days, you might be feeling like the world you knew is slipping away from you. Like you have less control than ever before and events far bigger than you are whipsawing your life in directions you never thought you'd be heading.It's ok. We're all going through the same turbulent journey together. We're all in one giant lifeboat in this great adventure called life. These are truly unprecedented times between a generational pandemic, a war in Europe, rampant inflation, scary talks of recession. But this is when truly strong people are built. When everything external seems out of control, it's important to realize that the only thing they can truly control is ourselves. Once we understand this unchangeable truth we start to ease up and see that going with the flow is the optimal way to deal with the outside world.
What is "going with the flow"? Is it a hippy term or some feel-good mantra? No! Going with the flow simply means separating what's in your control from what's not, and letting the uncontrollable unfold without judgment or exertion on our part.
Guess what? It's actually the most freeing thing in the world to know that the world is unchangeably chaotic. As Frank Herbert famously said, " The mystery of life isn't a problem to solve, but a reality to experience." Imagine how boring life would be if it was already completely mapped out for us and we were following a set storyline like a character in a video game?
Here are a few tangible ways to implement going with the flow into your life today.
1. Control what you can control
Going with the flow allows us to stay in the present moment and separate the essential from the non-essential.
The best way to keep ourselves centered and smooth in our daily lives is a two-step question process.
- Is this something that's in my control? (this question filters out the changeable from the unchangeable)
- What can I do right now to better this situation? (if it is in your control)
I've found that asking yourself guiding questions during the day is the most effective way to keep yourself calm, focused and unmoveable in the face of thousands of thoughts and decisions that come our way each day.
True progress comes from mastering variables within our control. It's impossible to comprehend the amount of time we spend worrying and poring over fictional mental situations, trying to solve the unsolvable.
By focusing purely on what we can control and letting go of the rest, we give ourselves freedom and space to operate to our maximum potential.
2. Plan then relax about the future
As human beings, we have an uncanny knack for subconsciously pinning our happiness on some imaginary time in the future. Guess what? Our future is shaped solely by what we do now. In the present moment.
Once we've gotten stronger at going with the flow, the future doesn't seem so scary because we're living firmly in the right now.
It's definitely important to plan for milestones we want to achieve in the future, but if our happiness is always tethered to some other place and some other time, we'll never be truly fulfilled.
Enjoy the things that truly matter today like your health, your relationships, and the meaning behind your work.
3. Savor the present moment
Former NFL linebacker Matt Mayberry puts it best, "One of the major causes of unhappiness is to not appreciate what we already have and focus our energy and effort towards what we don't have."
We all have set goals we want to achieve in the future. It'd be silly not to have targets to aim towards that mold us into better, smarter, stronger human beings. The key is the balance between living in the now and taking time to intentionally plan for the future.
Try this: Take a 20-30 minute walk at the end of the day and give yourself complete permission to think about the future. You might start out with worries about what might unfold. Try to consciously think about your goals and how you're tracking towards them, or dreams you want to accomplish. The more you practice this the more you'll start honing your focus toward positivity in the future instead
The way you get to your dreams will take many winding paths. It's not a straight line to the end goal, it's a journey filled with pitfalls, ups, downs, and everything in between. It's critical to go with the flow because that's how you truly soak up the journey. All of the little experiences that happen on the way to the "finish line" are what you might look back on as your favorite parts of life.