Pursuing ‘Mind Like Water’

‘Getting Things Done’ by David Allen is a practical book. It talks about how to write down all tasks you have to take care of, how to process them to make most out of 24 hours a day. A systematic approach to put everything under control for every day life.

It is interesting that the purpose of doing it, as David says, is rather philosophical than practical. David emphasizes ‘Getting Things Done’ is to achieve ‘Mind Like Water’. The term is from martial arts, meaning perfect ‘Ready State.’

Imagine a small pond in a cozy woods. The surface of water is serene. No movement at all. Still,  Peaceful, and Calm. It is the state of mind that many people want to achieve. However, ‘Mind Like Water’ does not mean just being quiet – no disturbance’ state. What if someone throws a pebble to the pond? What if strong wind blows suddenly? The quietness will be broken instantly.

The power of ‘Mind Like Water’ is in its responsiveness, not in its stillness. Water responds to everything, “totally appropriately to the force and mass of the input.” It does not overreact nor under-react. Reacts right for every action. And then, it goes back to calm state. That is ‘Mind Like Water.’

It can’t be achieved by forgetting everything. It is not a Nirvana or Deliverance, which you can’t have in daily life. For the people like us who have social life can’t retreat to a quiet place and get a still mind. We need a different method.

‘Mind Like Water’ can be achieved from total control. It is when your personal efficiency is sky high and when you can focus 100% on what you are doing. It is the peaceful mind you get when you know what you are doing. The state of mind that every ‘working people’ wants to achieve.

My motto for 2009 has been achieving this ‘Mind Like Water.’ I tried to organize myself so that everything is under control. I tried couple of time management tools, with hope that I can find one working system for me. But my self-evaluation for last year is B, or maybe B-. I can say my effort was commendable, but the result is far from the goal. Still my mind is like a roller-coaster.

I don’t give up. When can I achieve ‘Mind Like Water’? I don’t know. Maybe I won’t get there. Putting everything under control is not something you can achieve as a human. But as I continue to pursue, I can make a step at a time. I will be more response-able, more productive, and achieve more calmness with my mind. Moving toward this direction. That’s all I need for now.


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