When I came across this personal development quote about a river, I knew it would go well over an image of, well, a river…
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river, and he’s not the same man.” – Heraclitus
I’ll admit I had never heard of Heraclitus before seeing this quote, so off I went to do some research. He was a Greek philosopher, who had the concept of change at the heart of his thinking.
That makes sense, because that’s a concept clearly at the centre of this particular quote. It does create an image, doesn’t it?
Change comes to all of us. In fact it could be argued, as Heraclitus did, that change is the only constant. It never stops, and anyone thinking they can stand still is not only wrong, but *discover* they are wrong sooner or later!
You might say that whatever time you’re reading this will come around again tomorrow, that whatever day you’re reading this will come around next week, that whatever month you’re reading this will come around next year (and so on…)
Well, yes it will, but in fact the calendar will be different every time, and that’s because it *is* a different time.
People will have interacted with each other, nature will have ‘happened’, the earth will have spun, and spun a bit further around the sun. While we’re at it, the sun will have got older, and the universe will have expanded. It won’t be the same. It cannot.
Even if you stay in the house with your head under the blanket, you’ll have got older!
There’s no stopping it.
So, once we’ve taken that on board, the next consideration is this – what are you going to do about the change..?
I’d say, to make a generalisation, you can take one of two attitudes.
One attitude is that you will ‘plod’ along, trying to maintain the status quo, keeping your head down and muddling by. The main problem I can see with this, is that you are then vulnerable to the buffeting of circumstance.
If outside influences send you off track, you won’t necessarily have a clear way of getting back on track, because you won’t necessarily know which track you were on in the first place!
Even maintaining the status quo can’t truly be the status quo, because in order for things to stay the same amidst inevitable change, *something* has to happen, to prevent the status quo from changing!
The other attitude you could take, is that if change is going to come anyway, you might as well do your best to dictate as much of it as possible, to steer things in the direction of *your* choice as best you can.
Now, it’s important to point out here that those pesky outside circumstances will *still* buffet us. We can’t control the universe, so we certainly can’t control all the circumstances of our lives.
Having said that, if we take the position of choosing as much of the change as possible, we are much likely to be able to ride that outside buffeting, to get back on our own track much easier.
We’ll be more adaptable too, ready to take change on board, to take it in our stride, rather than try to fight it as a bad thing.
Of course, it *also* means that we will be living a life much more in line with our real self, the self that we know we should be living. That increases contentment, which in turn decreases angst.
That’s why, (and you won’t be surprised by this!), I think you should take the second attitude! Attitude is so important – It’s why I call it one of the 4 magic words beginning with ‘A’.
Change comes to all of us. Heraclitus got it right, no man ever steps in the same river twice. It’s simply not possible, so if change is unavoidable, it *has* be better to steer as much of it as we can. Try it, it really can change your life – it can transform it!
Ok, do let me know what you think – I love the feedback!
‘Til Next Time,
Health & happiness,
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