Go with the flow – or rock the boat?

What does it mean to you to go with the flow? Or to rock the boat?

Which is best?

Which is your approach?

Normally I like to go with the flow of certain things. I like serendipity. I don’t like to plan too much and limit my options. I like to have an open mind and take things as I find them – in the hope and expectation that others do the same.

But sometimes going with the flow can be dangerous. Imagine throwing yourself into a fast-moving body of water with no means of propulsion, protection or defence, with the only intention to go with the flow and be carried along wherever the current might take you.

Of course the danger is you are overwhelmed. You might drown, or you might strike a rock, or get stuck behind one. You might be carried into the open ocean, when all you wanted was to go down-stream a little.

Going with the flow oughtn’t be a reckless act, or a wilful loss of control. Unless you are comfortable with the consequences. If you are not you will at worst be either crushed or lost; at best terrified.

Alternatively you can take a more cautious approach. You can study the flow of the water and you can approach it as an adventure. You can choose to get the most out of the experience, harness the power of the stream to your advantage and navigate the rocks in safety so as not to diminish the exhilaration of the ride.

In this scenario it’s wise to use a life jacket and a helmet. You might take a canoe and a paddle and ride the white water.

But what about rocking the boat? What good does that do?

Personally I’ve always been a boat rocker.

I’m not one to put up with the status quo. I’m always looking for new and better ways to live, think, work, relate. Sitting still equates to stagnation to me. You’ve sometimes got to rock the boat in order to get moving; in order to make the most of the next adventure; in order to live.

You might also have to rock the boat to steer or to wriggle free of the rocks. And believe me if my canoe were ever to capsize I’m going to be rocking the boat like holy crap in order to get back upright.

Yet what I’ve noticed is that when you’re truly in the flow, when you’re not blocked against rocks or trapped in eddies, then you have neither the time nor the inclination to rock the boat. Why would you? How could you?

Better to surrender to the thrill of the ride. And let it take you as far as you want to go.

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