The phrase that’s been on my mind for the past 7 years

Years ago I read Tao Te Ching for the first time. What a treat! 

Since then, it became my personal bible. I read it cover to cover at least once a year. And every time I find something new, profound and surprisingly helpful. 

It helped me to navigate my first people management role. It helped me with my relationships. But most importantly, it helps me with the way I look at the world and my daily responsibilities. 

I don’t want to spoil it for you. It’s a sheer joy to be introduced to this book for the first time. And I don’t want to rob you of that joy. 

Today I want to share the phrase that stuck with me over the past 7 years, ever since I read this book for the first time. This phrase is ultimately my favourite, the one I carry in my mental purse at all times. 

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
Lao Tzu

Not a single hike, snow, rain, sunrise and sunset went by without me pondering this phrase.

the phrase

I’ve always lived in countries with 4 distinct seasons. Very few of us can compete with nature in terms of what it can get done in a year. Just think about all the processes that need to happen for all these 4 seasons to occur. Just imagine a to-do list for each season. I bet it’s enormous. However, it gets done. Every single year. Without a doubt. Yet, if you observe nature on a daily basis, it’s not in a rush. It doesn’t hurry. It looks like nothing is happening. 

I’ve been on a personal quest to find some answers and techniques to embody this phrase, to be more like nature that doesn’t hurry yet everything is accomplished. It’s been 7 years… And I still don’t have a detailed how-to guide. It’s still a mystery. It’s still a personal quest that I’m glad to be on. 

Over the years, I’ve met some people who seem to be closer to that state of being.
A working mom whose home is effortlessly clean without her frantically running around picking things up.
A founder of a successful company who spends his mornings reading and shows to work shortly after lunch and leaves by 5.30 pm.
A friend who can host elaborate dinner parties twice a month without accompanying nervous breakdowns.
Parents who have the most well-behaved kids without controlling their every move. 

These people are like aliens who just landed on this planet and haven’t gotten the memo about how a constant sense of urgency and panic is required on this planet. If you look at them at any given point, they look like they have nothing going on. They are just “chilling”. But when you look at the result they produce, you wonder when the hell they had the time to do it all..?

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

I invite you to think about this phrase. How does nature get so much accomplished in a year without all that frantic busyness? What can we learn from it?

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