When you have dirty dishes, do you scrub them immediately, putting a lot of effort into it, or do you leave them to soak, sometimes overnight, so that when you get to them, they wash easily?
When I managed to figure out a way to do a task, say berry picking, much easier by employing some crazy idea, like bringing a chair to sit down, I was often called lazy.
One of my friends can’t handle leaving dishes in the sink, because of the mess. But I personally never understood why I should make effort when it is not necessary to do so. Why would I waste so much energy of scrubbing when water will do the job much better?
I never called this a philosophy until I read Ollivier Pourriol’s ‘The French Art of Not Trying Too Hard’. Risking making it too simplistic, he seems to zero into the to capture a philosophy of life that can narrow down to this question:
Are you a Scrubber or a Soaker?
Are you allowing some things to solve themselves or are you in constant battle with the world around you and inside you?
Are you trying to control everything in your life, or sometimes let things go and solve themselves?
As a self-proclaimed Soaker, I am keen on the idea of emotions doing the hard work for me when they can, whether it be motivating me to look after my health, going to the gym, or riding the waves of my frustrations until I finish my book about emotions.
Another reason is of course that I know fighting emotions is a battle I can’t win, at least not without dire consequences to my well-being and health.
But it is also about achieving things I want in life without expending all my energy, and everything I have to get there. It’s about enjoying the journey to my goals as much as the destination.
Of course, emotional information and energy are only helpful if you guide them. If we give in to our anger without any guidance, it’s the quickest way to destroy every relationship we have.
Also, not all emotions are high energy – sadness is the exact opposite energy-wise, as it serves a different purpose.
But getting to know your emotions and intelligently using them to satisfy your inner and outer needs, will help you get to where you want to go faster, better, and easier.
Of course, no strategy works 100% of the time – sometimes you simply have no choice but to switch off your emotions, numb them or distract yourself to ensure you survive the moment.
But more often than not, riding emotional energy waves is a much smarter, more elegant solution, than fighting them and relying on willpower and logic to achieve our goals.
As Ollivier Pourriol says:
‘Far from giving in to ease out of laziness, you have demonstrated ingenuity in finding simpler and more effective approach’.
And isn’t that a win in a life that demands so much of us?