Do less – The Art of “Trying Not To Try,” and the Chinese concept of “Wu-wei”

Hello from Atlanta.  ATLANTA?  Do they sail in Atlanta?  In fact they do.  Yesterday I ripped around Lake Lanier in 20-30 knot winds and during that daunting session the concept of knowing how energy to apply at the any given moment came up.  As the intensity of the wind increases, often so does the “input” sailors give the boat.  Interestingly, that’s not always the right move.  The art of doing less is not a new concept – and NPR’s Tom Ashbrook recently had a show about this exact concept – here is what he had to say:

The art and power of spontaneity, in ancient philosophy, in jazz, in everyday life. We’ll look at “Trying Not To Try,” the Chinese concept of “Wu-wei”, and the completely focused mental state of “flow.”

The old reggae song says “Try. Try and try. You’ll succeed at last.”  And we know there can be truth in that.  But we also know that grinding, stressful, pounding effort can turn self-defeating.  My guest today studies philosophy and neuroscience.  He says look to the way of spontaneity.  To the old Chinese philosophers of the Tao and more.  Get in the zone.  Act freely, spontaneously.  And you may find your most productive, creative self.  A Ttiger Mom might not get it.  But Yoda would, he says.  This hour On Point:  the Tao of spontaneity, the way of flow.  And trying not to try. 

Take a listen to the program – it might just make you a better sailor.





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