Another metaphor for looking at this whole work versus play, sacrificing versus enjoying, suffering versus pleasure: another way of looking at this whole balance is using the metaphor of some words that are now become very common in describing these states, and one would be the grind.
So grinding is, you know, it’s become a very positive term now for working hard, and really it’s a very colorful expression that, you know, really brings out that feeling of grinding.
What is grinding? You are scraping with friction, and it really suggests how you’re pushing against difficulty.
You’re forcing things through.
You’re grinding it out.
You don’t want to do it, but you’re just like continuing to work and pushing at something that doesn’t want to be pushed.
You are grinding it out.
And this is work.
This is where we make that sacrifice and we choose to suffer as necessary as a choice, and even perhaps as a joy in itself, as part of this whole attitude of working hard to change something.
When you’re grinding, you are forcing something to change that wouldn’t naturally change.
That’s what I think that term grinding really brings out.
You are applying work, you are applying force, to change something.
Now, an opposite term would be flow.
Because flow really is like the opposite of grind, because here there’s no friction.
You’re just sliding through.
There’s just flowing just like liquid, and it’s just there’s no resistance, there’s no forcing.
It’s simply flowing through.
And yet, this liquid flow, this water, this also achieves work.
It can make great change.
Of course, water, simply by flowing over things, changes them.
It may take a long time, but water still accomplishes this.
But the thing with water: water doesn’t really make any choices, you could say.
Water simply flows where the forces are directing it to flow.
Gravity, maybe wind, somebody picking it up in a jug and then pouring it out.
I mean, water does not actually make any decisions.
Whereas grinding really brings that feeling of like you are applying your will to change something.
Flow, you’re just naturally floating along.
And you can imagine it as being the water itself, or maybe you could be a little boat on the water, a little toothpick boat – I’m picturing that for some reason – or you could picture a leaf, or you could picture a whole boat, I mean even a whole sailboat.
Sailboat could be an example of grind and flow, because it’s the grind to maintain the ship and set up the sails, move those sails so that they are correctly configured, but then it’s the flow of the wind and the water that moves the boat where it’s going to go.
So whatever we do, there’s going to be some kind of a balance between these forces.
Going too far on the grind side, it just feels like that kind of gravel feeling.
It’s like imagine you’re trying to talk and it comes out, it feels like, gravel.
Or it feels like just every single motion you make is just sort of like grinding rocks, and you just have to force with raw power through every single thing you’re doing.
I mean, eventually you’re going to come to a grinding halt, you’re just going to stop, because we can only apply so much force at a time.
We are limited in our ability to simply brute-force our way through things.
So as great as the grind is, that alone is not enough.
Now, the flow state, also often seen as this wonderful thing, which I agree it can be quite wonderful: the flow state, being in the flow, going with the flow, letting things happen so that change is achieved effortlessly: this is amazing.
And it seems like, as much as possible, if we can make the work we do into a flow, channel the flow in a way, shape the flow, so that we can flow with our work in the direction that we want it to go, let it come as effortlessly and frictionlessly as possible, that makes everything better.
And yet, pure flow with absolutely no grind at all is purely passive.
It has no ability to make decisions, make change, and like water, it will simply flow wherever the forces take it.
So somewhere in the middle, this mix somehow of grind and flow, is how we can achieve the best results.
So I’d be curious to hear, for you, how you are mixing these things, or what you think of this concept.
#grindandflow #grind #flow