How do you handle the rip currents of life?

“Accept — then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.”

Eckhart Tolle

This quote makes me think of how one should react if caught in a rip current at the beach. The reason rip currents are so dangerous is that most people will panic and try and swim against the current. Expending your energy going against the current is futile and will only serve to tire yourself out, which is when tragedy can strike. Instead, you should do these four things:

  • Don’t panic – Rip currents don’t last forever and will typically end in 50-100 feet.
  • Don’t try to swim against the current – Trying to go against the current is futile and how you will wear yourself out. You aren’t strong enough to do it, don’t try.
  • Try and swim parallel to shore – Keeping shore in sight and moving at an angle with the rip current. The current typically isn’t more than 20-40 feet wide so this can give you a chance to exit the current so you can then swim to shore.
  • Relax & enjoy the ride – Because the currents don’t normally last more than 100 – 150 feet then you can ride it out and once it dissipates you can then try and swim to shore or call for help.

How do these tactics apply to the metaphorical rip currents that can, and will, pop up in life? Taking the time to think through each of these steps whenever something comes up that you didn’t plan for or expect can put an entirely new perspective on whatever you are dealing with. The bottom line is this, when you are caught in a rip current, don’t put all your energy into resisting it, you won’t win…

Find the good…

“Positive thinking is not about expecting the best to happen every time but accepting that whatever happens is the best for this moment.”¬†

Author Unknown 

I don’t think this is something that you just “know” when you are young. It is wisdom that is formed through experiences and from taking some lumps along the way in life. Frankly it is a lesson I am continually learning and relearning.

The more that I marinate on this quote the more I realize that it is not about being supper happy and focusing on the “good” things happening to me or others but is instead about finding the good in the things that do happen. It is always there, we just have to choose to seek it out…

Adjust and overcome…

“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.”

Michael J. Fox

Personally I have found that these types of challenges or situations have been among the most impactful and important things to have happened in my life. Recognizing something for what it is, accepting it, and then dealing with it positively is so important. If you want to create change you first have to accept whatever the reality truly is, not what you want it to be. Only then can you can adjust and overcome.

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