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Swimming against the current

Swimming against the current is tough, tiring, and often prevents us from getting where we set out to go. And on the rare occasion that we do manage to get to where we wanted, the effort in overcoming the force of the current may have been too much for it to have been worth it.

We face currents all the time. We face opposition to our ideas, to our way of doing things, to what we believe is the right thing to do, to our progress.

But to think that we can always overcome the current is egotistic.

We let our ego get in the way when we refuse to do our best work because someone we don't like might end up benefiting as a result. We let our ego get in the way when we argue and make a case for others to perceive us differently. We let our ego get in the way when we pass up an opportunity to learn and grow simply because it is being handed to us by someone we don't think are better than us.

I have had to work for people that aren't better than me. I've had to let people take credit for my work when they didn't deserve it. I've had to listen to feedback from people that they fail to incorporate in their own conduct.

But in each of those occasions, trying to prove that I'm better has been like swimming against the current. Trying to steer things the way I'd like them to be has been like swimming against the current.

Unfruitful. Exhausting. Pointless.

Instead, when I've let my ego take the back seat in such situations, I've noticed opportunities to learn, to see things from the perspective of the other person, to empathise with their way of thinking, to understand their culture.

And it often boils down to culture. Because, if it doesn't, then it can be changed and changed easily. Culture, however, is harder to change.

In such cases, rather than swim against the current, it is better to learn to swim with the current and adapt to the culture. Which requires setting aside our ego.

If that adaptation requires us to rescind on one of our core principles, then it is better to simply walk away and refuse to swim in those waters. Which again, requires setting aside our ego.

Only when both the options fail to be feasible is when we ought to swim against the current. Otherwise, we are just wasting our energy that we could be using somewhere else. After all, the world is quite a big place.

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