Building Community Through Better Relationships

Swimming With The Current

While helping my wife strap a canoe to her car’s roof, the similarity of travelling on a river and through life hit me like a cold splash of water. Whether recreationally paddling down a stream or raging down rapids, the water experience reflects life choices. Specifically, some people float with the waves, while others swim with the current.

Mapping these contrasts to how people approach their life experiences, the floating with the waves group moves forward at a reasonable clip. They safely enjoy their time in the water. They embrace the calculated risk, while recognizing the limited likelihood to capsize or get injured. They enjoy the experience, get wet, and make predictable progress. On the other hand, more thrill-seeking people choose to swim with the current. They propel themselves down the waterways at greater speeds and heightened recklessness. In both cases, the people experience risk, reward, and results. But the experiences vary greatly!

Systemic risk in both cases involves drowning. People who float with the waves minimize that risk. The lifestyle equivalent to bobbing up and down in the water is going to work, joining the PTA and waiting for your two weeks of vacation. These people help in their community and contribute to an employer. Thrills are for other people. And, those other people would be those swimming with the current. Unseen dangers, driftwood, and marine life may also be in the current with them. They recognize the increased risk and navigate their speedy adventure regardless. Accepting the risk makes it worthwhile. Their work is their play. They do not want to take the time to discern the two.

When floating with the waves, the experience rewards you with a comfortable diversion. These people crave the routine and this diversion is just enough in order to feel alive. But, those swimming with the current are acutely aware that risk is merely the lens to see clearly their upcoming reward. The squeals, the pace, the empty stomachs are all part of the life-affirming process. Being driven by the rewards make them more action-oriented. These people will take a chance because that is how they work and play. In fact, that is how they exist!

The results of these two perspectives dramatically differ. For the floating with the waves group, the river reflects their to-do list. Input experience, output recreation. These people can check the fun box and move onto the next item. But by swimming with the current, the other group lives their story. The result is another adventure conquered. Swimming the current demands matching the environment regarding speed, and then going faster! The victory is overcoming the best the environment can throw at them. The winning against superior forces, like nature, transcends across their lives. They want risks in their professions, their social relationships, and their recreation.

Of course with risk, negative experiences are possible. But, with an attitude to pursue the next challenge, the highs get higher. In both cases there are no guarantees. However, in evaluating the probabilities there are strong tendencies. Floating with the wave will most likely yield stability, measured progress, and eventually regret. Swimming with the current will most likely yield excitement, victories, injuries, and recovery. Every individual has to make their own choices. Society encourages floating with the wave. Progress will come in time. But, by swimming with the current, the individual is embracing unique experiences that include some danger, but enviable thrills. Each individual must decide which experience they will choose and what rewards they will take. I have already decided to dive in and swim with the current!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter & Beyond


October 1, 2014 - Posted by | Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , ,

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