Wu Wei

It isn’t just a WordPress theme but the art and practice of non-doing. Or doing nothing. To put it bluntly. 

 Of course, I’m not promoting procrastination or laziness. That’ll be anathema! But I am inviting you to explore the possibility of effortless action, which can be had in two ways — getting in the zone or stepping back. 

 For most people, the first one might sound familiar. You’re at peace with whatever task you’re working on—just focusing on what needs to be done. No evaluation. No judgments. No emotions. You’re experiencing this state of profound (not intense) concentration, and nothing else matters. You’re in the flow. 

 The second approach might be confusing for most people, but the Chinese strategists hail it to be the epitome of wisdom. It’s simply to stand back and wait while exercising patience, resilience, and flexibility. 

 For a martial artist, that might mean to tire out the opponent mentally and physically before counter-attacking with precision and efficiency. It means to step back from your challenges and see how things playout for the regular person. 

 Sure, you’re expected to respond to emergencies. Still, barring those rare circumstances, you don’t have to jump into action or react or get aggressive with people or situations, mainly when you haven’t done the due diligence to consider what’s going on carefully. 

 I love Robert Greene’s take on Wu-Wei in his masterpiece, The Laws of Human Nature. 

 “Consider the possibility that it is better to wait and see how things play out, or even not to respond at all. Taking action without proper consideration reveals weakness and a lack of self-control. For balance, always consider the interdependent relationships you are involved in and how each group or individual will be affected by any action. If you find yourself blocked in your career later in life, you must learn the power of withdrawing and reflecting on who you are, your needs, your strengths and weaknesses, your true intersects before making any important decisions. This could require weeks or months of introspection.”

 That’s the power of effortless action. Having the wisdom to step back and not do anything as you reflect on the possibilities, consequences, and the way forward. 

 And while you might take a whole lot of time to get into a state of flow, doing nothing is, well, effortless. Quite literally. You stop doing what you’re doing and do nothing. 

 Some of the most outstanding leaders have done it, only to come back with revolutionary ideas that changed the course of history. If stepping back and doing nothing was good enough for them, it can do you wonders and help you leap forward.  

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