Going Against the Flow

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In life, we’re often told to “go with the flow.” Meaning, the flow of energy, the flow of events as they unfold. The implication here is that we shouldn’t struggle against forces beyond our control. To do so is to expend valuable energy that’s better exerted elsewhere.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about this going with the flow business, and what it all means.

It’s my feeling that people who are passive accepters will always go with the flow, no matter what. And that’s the majority of people. But then you have the other brand of personality – the movers and shakers. They’re fewer and farther between, sure. These people seem to have that killer gut instinct telling them when it’s right to go against the flow.

Why would you ever want to go against the flow? Why, when your whole life, everyone’s told you to roll with it, go with it, flow with it, and don’t rock the boat?

You’d want to go against the flow when it’s time to instigate change. Change is inevitable, yes. But don’t think for a minute that humans don’t have control over it, because we do. As the species in charge of this earth, we are artisans of change. Just look at what Al Gore has undertaken in the name of extending the life on our planet. Just look at how far the human race has come.

Change happens so gradually, we almost don’t notice it. It ripples outward in a series of connected events. One day we wake up, look around, and no longer recognize what we thought to be true. That’s change in effect.

Change will still happen, even if we sit in the passenger’s seat of life and let other people or events manipulate our outcomes for us. But it will happen more to our liking, if we become actively involved and responsible for what’s occurring. That may mean going against the flow and against the grain, in some areas of your life.

When is it time to go against the flow?

  • When policies and procedures feel painful and onerous instead of pleasurable and effortless
  • When you realize that what worked five years ago isn’t working today
  • When “your people” seem to be drifting in a direction that you don’t want to go
  • When you look in the mirror and the person staring back at you is nearly a stranger
  • When something (or everything) is different, and not in a good way
  • When neglect begins to negatively impact people and situations
  • When “it’s time somebody did something” (why not you?)

Questions to ask yourself

  • What direction are things flowing in your life? Your work? How about with your family, neighborhood, or even your local government?
  • What can you do to shift the tides?
  • How do you think this will affect your life for the long term?
  • How will it impact those around you?
  • What ways can you go against the flow, in a good way?

Do you have any stories of going against the flow? What happened? Please share them in the comment below.