Lao Tzu’s Advice


I read a quote this morning attributed to Lao Tzu: “Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

Yes, let things flow naturally forward… but don’t just stop there. Thoughtfully set some long term and short term goals considering the pros and cons of those: What’s the best outcome you could hope for? What’s the worst that could happen?

First, know (and remind yourself) that Newton’s laws of physics applies to all areas of life:

1. Objects at rest stay at rest, objects in motion remain in motion at a constant speed in a straight line unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. So do something. Set a goal that can get you moving forward and try to go in a straight line to that goal. If something knocks you off course, reset that line and try again. Once you hit that short term goal follow the next until you reach that ultimate goal. As you are travelling that straight line course you’ve set, consider Lao Tzu’s advice to let reality be reality. Unbalanced forces happen.

2. The acceleration of an object depends upon the mass of the object and the amount of force applied. How fast you get to your goal depends on how much energy you exert to get there. Education (through formal study or dedicated practice) sometimes seems to take a lifetime but fundamentals are important; just as a musician or athlete needs persistent practice to develop muscle memory, the foundation it builds is important. Consider Lao Tzu here: Study. Practice. Let things flow naturally forward.

3. When an object exerts a force upon another object, the second object exerts an equal and opposite reaction on the first object. Look before you leap. Consider the consequences of your actions – both good and bad! There’s nothing corollary to Lao Tzu here, simply situational awareness and to help manage expectations.

Secondly: Expectations can provide some of life’s greatest disappointments. Captain Phil Harris of the F/V Cornelia Marie was caught on camera saying: “There are 3 types of people… Those that MAKE things happen, those that watch things happen and those that wonder what the hell just happened.” If you are trying to be someone that makes things happen but end up wondering what the hell happened then you have just landed in the perfect place to learn from your mistakes and move forward.

Finally, consider time. The time continuum (timeline) is the X-Factor that we all struggle with. Estimates of how long it will take to reach your goal(s) are just that – estimates. Try not to mix expectations with time. Let things flow…

Last quote from a bumper sticker: “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” Just do something! Then let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.

Just do something!
Just do something!