Reading an old but pertinent article in Vanity Fair on Greece’s economic woes*, I saw the following idea: The smart person accepts; the idiot insists. This got me thinking about the concept of flow, and just how draining resistance is.
In his psychological philosophy Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, Albert Ellis takes this idea further when he speaks about how the shoulds, ought tos and musts in our thinking styles cause us suffering, and how when we subscribe to this mode of interpreting our experiences, we perceive other people and the world as letting us down. If we can instead change these negative and absolute ideas of how projects, the world, and others “should be” into preferences, then we experience the world in a far gentler way and we end up being much happier people.
But besides these emotional costs of insisting the world “should be” as we want it to be, there are also great costs to our energy and effort levels. If we stop insisting things must be my way or the high way we can release vast reservoirs of energy that we can then unleash productively both in our work lives and personally. Conflict is exhausting. Jostling for supremacy is exhausting. On the other hand, in any shared activity – at work, or in close relationships, or simply out there interacting in the world – if we can put our pride aside, take what lands on us, and dance with it, we can not only build hugely positive human relationships – but by putting aside the temptation to say No, but.. and instead embracing Yes, and we can also.., we can create great collaborative projects.
My own original background is theatre. The notion of Yes, and we can also.. is the essence of improvisation, which actors and jazz musicians use so creatively. So, I challenge you, take whatever lands on you and dance an improvisational dance with it. Go out – use the notes from that person’s trumpet, and add your own drumbeat. Pull together disparate elements, talents and contributions and make some beautiful music and movement in your life.