Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend. Bruce Lee
I once thought I knew what life should be like. I have been challenged many times to adjust my thinking when curve balls came my way. I see this every time when I face my garden and see a design that I once thought perfect questioned for its purpose and direction. The flower plops on the path, or the plant dies from too much sun or not enough. I also see this at work. The perfect plan of the day gets thrown out the window when a single call comes in and I have to pursue a different plan. In response, my staff adjusts to me, or someone else. We get frustrated by the change, but it is what it is.
Nature is not shy when it tells you that you should consider a different bent. A prized shrub wilts in distress from too much or too little water. The rose bush battles rust or some other ailment because it falls in shadow or is improperly pruned. How quickly you adjust — even more so, how willingly — is very telling of your character and what you have learned along the way.
As Bruce Lee suggests: consider being water. It moves and shapes itself by what form it is given to travel. You can get mad – another form of rigidity – or you can remain flexible (or formless). Regardless the lesson is profound. Who do you want to be? Fluid or stuck like the plant in the worst of clay soils?
Be water my friend, Bruce replies. Be water.