Be water, my friend: the 7 laws to adapt to life
In many cases, much of the stress, fear and anguish that we experience on a day-to-day basis is mainly due to the fear of change.
One day we realize that each time we must accept more responsibilities, we notice how old friends leave and we even feel insecure when we notice how our own body is evolving. So much the fear of losing our identity and habits over time as the uncertainty that produces not having the certainty of what will happen in the future can make life bitter.
However, there are certain ways of understanding existence that protect us more against this type of evil. The motto "be water, my friend" pronounced by legendary actor and martial artist Bruce Lee in his last interview is just an example of how some philosophies totally embrace the idea that everything changes, constantly, and that this is good and natural .
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A philosophy of life marked by the acceptance of change
If something has characterized Asian cultures such as China or Japan, is to accept the change. While in the West has dominated a way of understanding the things that fed the need for the human being to dominate nature and modify it at will, in much of the territory of the East, until not so long ago, things were seen from a very different way: give up the pretense to tame the environment and merge with it, evolving just as the planet does.
This idea was insinuated in a very interesting Bruce Lee interview recorded in black and white , which became popular in 2007 when one of its fragments was rescued by a BMW TV spot from the advertising agency SCPF.
In fact, the most remembered phrase is precisely that in which it expresses, through a beautiful metaphor, the good thing of stopping to fear the change and to turn ourselves into change: "Be water, my friend " .
Be water, my friend: what does it mean?
This inspiring phrase is not a simple façade, behind it there is a way of understanding the things behind its back thousands of years of tradition. It is a philosophical principle called Wu Wei , which literally means "No Action" and which belongs to a current of thought originating in ancient China called Taoism.
The idea of non-action, as we shall see, is radically opposed to the way in which people belonging to Western countries approach things, since it is based on the idea that Acceptance and humility is the best way to live and adapt to constant change that characterizes our world.
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The keys to adapt to the change
The fundamental idea that governs philosophies such as Taoism, one of the most influential in Chinese culture, is that everything flows and that we should not try to shield ourselves and remain static . It is a very useful perspective when it comes to experiencing the passage of time and experiences, with all that that entails, and can be summarized in 8 laws:
1. The natural thing is change
That which always remains the same only exists in our imagination, it is not something real that defines the world in which we live. Even the oldest trees end up drying up and giving way to new ways of life and new landscapes.
2. Reality always goes ahead of our beliefs
There is no objective way to interpret what surrounds us, since change always goes ahead of our ideas and conclusions. This fact makes Chinese philosophy nourish an intellectual position based on humility .
3. Destruction is also creation
Everything flows, and that means that even in the most disastrous events there are seeds of opportunity . Taoism expressed a similar idea through a very famous concept: Yin and Yang.
4. Our change is the change of the world
We are not beings separated from the rest of the world; and all the processes that take place around us make that we evolve in one way or another .
5. Do not think about essences
The idea that everything and everyone has an essence is counterproductive, because it only leads us to create labels and rigid concepts that do not explain a changing reality immune to the intellectual prisons that assume these rigid categories .
This maxim is especially important in recent times, characterized by the rapid evolution of life forms due to technological advances and globalization. In the era in which the Internet and 3D printing is changing everything a few years after its creation, it is absurd to expect everything to remain the same, as if that were to be expected.
6. Live in the present
Wanting to build one's own life from memories and fixed ideas about identity only generates frustration, because, as we have seen, the natural thing is fluidity, change. Reality never responds to the pressures of very limited concepts ; who was shy and discreet yesterday, today could be denying himself tomorrow by blindly believing in that identity that has expired.
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7. Do not worry about the shapes of who you are, and how you model them
Acting with spontaneity and simplicity is one of the maxims of Taoism, a philosophy in which things are considered to work best when we try control our environment less and the way we project ourselves in this . As Bruce Lee says, water is characterized by having no form; it simply adapts to that of your container.