Going Against the Flow

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.

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.

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?

Going against the flow can be draining. However, I realize that it is often fueled by great purpose and intent. It’s a sweet reminder that while complying with the majority may be easier, it doesn’t always serve in achieving goals nor is it the most creative way of getting things done. 

If we value making things easy and going along to get along then going with the flow works. If we value creativity, innovation, powerful and purposeful intention then sometimes it’s important to go against the flow. My experience is a reminder to not lose connection with those around you. If you assume you are alone, you are. If, however, you look to see if others might be willing to engage and even help, you’ll have more resources available.

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