Water: The Way of Writing – Part 3

cuppedhands.jpgWater is fluid, flowing with the crashing waves. It is one of the most powerful elements. When a river is blocked, water finds a way around the obstacle. Water takes on the shape of a container without losing its essence. It erodes stone mountains, reducing them to pebbles. It might take time, but water perseveres and finds its course.But how do you persevere? Do you stay calm and keep pushing ahead, or do you panic and let the whirlpools drag you under?

When you run across a difficult situation, it’s so easy to panic and lose your head. Losing control is also the easy solution when the moment seems lost.

Musashi said “Even when your spirit is calm, do not let your body relax, and when your body is relaxed do not let your spirit slacken.” In the world of freelance writing, you have to stay on your toes if you want to keep your head above water.

Show No Pain

During my days of karate, one of the hardest lessons for the white belts to learn was the concept of showing no pain. We’re not talking about the broken bones or emergency-room type pain but the little aches and pains that are a normal part of a tough workout.

I have to admit that I was a hardcore martial artist and went to the extreme, continuing to train with a cast on my wrist after I broke it during a training session.

Showing no pain means pushing through despite the hurt. The moment you let another person see you sweat, he or she might view you as weak. If you complain about every little ache or pain in your business, clients won’t have the best impression of you. You’ll come off as a whiner and difficult to work with. You’ll be seen as negative.

If you maintain the proper attitude and accept everything in stride, you’ll stand a better chance of increasing your credibility and gain a reputation of being able to handle anything that comes along.

Of course, a strong reputation does have its drawbacks. People will have high expectations and you’ll have to constantly live up to them.

That’s okay, though. Take each day slow and steady and learn when to say no.

No Design, No Conception

This is one of the most difficult concepts to put into practice. “No design, no conception” means staying calm in the face of adversity.

Have you ever been in a crisis situation where your mind goes on auto-pilot and you just react? When you run into a serious problem, over-thinking can cost time and money. Sometimes, you have to stop thinking and just do. Your words and your actions need to be spontaneous. Instead of fighting the tide, flow with it.

The concept of water means slowing down and taking situations step-by- step without being overwhelmed by the flood of problems. Musashi said, “Step by step, walk the thousand mile road…Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men.”

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