"Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced."-Soren Kierkegaard
This struck a chord with me because I pride myself on being a problem solver.
I always look for the solution. The thing is, sometimes there isn’t a solution.
Sometimes a thing is meant to be just the way it is, with all its imperfections and impurities making it special. Sometimes life should be stressful, and a little sad. Sometimes we shouldn’t get out way, and other items we should be rewarded for our hard work.
This is all part of the experience that is life.
I’m sure you would agree with me on this. The problem is, most people do everything they can to avoid these parts of life instead of embracing them for what they are: necessary.
The ironic thing is, when you actively try to avoid pain, you end up causing yourself more pain.
Isn’t it ironic, don’t ya think?
Taoism has a concept known as Wu wei, which literally means non-action or non-doing. It is the way of the pacifist who seeks reform not through violence by through non-reaction to violence.
What most people don’t realize is, inaction is a form of action. By choosing not to act, you are taking the action of not reacting.
This concept has many applications in life, many of which I’m reminded of from Robert Greene’s awesome book, The 48 Laws of Power.
In the chapter, “Disdain things you cannot have: Ignoring them in the best revenge,” Greene suggests that it’s often best to ignore people (or problems) as this removes their power. As he states, “What you do not react to cannot drag you down in a futile engagement .”
Not reacting is, in many instances, immensely powerful for attaining your goal.
Sometimes the best offense is to do nothing. Yet most people struggle with this; they want to engage with their opponent or problem. All this does is throw fuel on the fire. It’s often best to bide your time and do nothing. Let the fire slowly die out. Many times people will come to their wits or your problem will take care of itself.
I did not intend to write about this topic when I started this piece, but that’s where it led me. But such is life: Sometimes we are best served to be flexible and go along with where life takes us. Experience the moment instead of trying to shape it to exactly how you want it to be.
Act through inaction. Do by not doing. Resist by not resisting. You might find that you get far better results.