There is a popular saying that asserts that “no storm lasts forever.” It is used to provide comfort during times of tribulation and remind us that no matter how difficult things seem, they will not stay this difficult forever. The Tao Te Ching was written 2500 years ago and echoes this understanding when it states “Fierce winds do not blow all morning; a downpour of rain does not last all day.”
Two years ago I injured my back. The injury wasn’t extreme but it was enough to drastically disrupt my routines. It would spasm during some of the most routine activities and prevented me from exercising fully. I remember at the time being very short-sighted. It seemed to be the new normal so I started to get used to the fact that my back was not 100%.
But over time it started to slowly heal. It would feel a little better one day and then seem to slowly recover. Once it fully healed I better understood the saying that “no storm lasts forever.”
But the funny thing is that during the “storm” I could have made it better. I could have taken the time to heal and stayed confident that I would regain my routines when the time was right. Instead I kept trying to push myself, thinking that this would last forever if I didn’t work to get back to health. All this did was put additional strain on my back and slow the recovery.
I see some of the same things in sports. Injured athletes tend to focus on recovery and work with the best doctors and trainers in the world. Yet we regularly see athletes come back to their sport too early and cause additional damage. Instead of fully recovering they seem to rush back, which only increases their risk of serious injury.
I have found that the best mindset for me is one of flexibility during these trying times. I used to remain vigilant and unwavering in my views but this seemed to only make things worse.
Several years ago during one of the tropical storms that hit the southeast coast, a reporter was out in the storm describing the intensity of the winds. Behind him you could see palm trees being bent over and swaying in the wind.
It is astonishing to think that the way a tree survives such force and aggressive weather is to remain flexible. The tall, solid, strong oak tree is no match for these winds. But the flexible palm somehow moves with the wind instead of trying to fight against it.
During the storms in our lives we often try to remain strong and rigid but the best approach may just be to adapt and stay flexible. Take the new information and make new decisions. Don’t remain committed to ideas or beliefs or systems or habits that are no longer best. By remaining flexible you will be able to overcome life’s challenges and realize that “fierce winds do not blow all morning.” Remaining flexible will allow you to go with the wind until the wind subsides.