Be Like Water – The “Magical Way” to More Success and Less Stress

Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.” ~Lao Tzu


Do you ever wish that life could unfold easily for you, that things would just work out well?

Do you wish you were one of the people who seems to catch all the lucky breaks? 

I mean… who doesn’t right?

Today I want to share a little piece of spiritual wisdom I’ve been experimenting for the last few months.

Since I’ve started applying it, things just seem to be working out magically, even though I’m not “trying” nearly as hard before.

Today I want to share some of that magic with you.


“Just go with the flow!”

Has someone ever said that to you?

When you hear something like that, do you think “all right, let’s do it!” or do you feel like it’s an irresponsible way to live?

Are you the kind of person who flows with things, or who resists change and unforeseen circumstances?


Recently, I’ve decided to make it a priority in my life to learn to go with the flow, to let go of my attachments, and to trust the natural order of things.

I did it partly by choice, partly by necessity.

See I’ve always been very goal-driven. Growing as up a swimmer, I learned early on the power of goal-setting and having a clear plan of how I was going to get exactly where I wanted to go.

It was a very linear and rigid approach. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t and I was really friggin’ frustrated and sad.

Earlier this year, when I moved to California, I had a clear idea of how I was going to transform my hobby for blogging into a career as an Optimal Living coach & teacher.

I had a plan and I was intent on sticking with it.

But rapidly, I realized that building an online business (especially the first time) while learning to be a businessman, a life coach, a public speaker, a writer, a student of Optimal Living and living in a new place all at once was a BIG challenge.

At first, I held on to how I had planned to achieve my goals, despite the challenges and setbacks.

But then… my level of stress kept getting higher and higher. I started freaking out.

I became less and less happy and the quality of my work started going down (we’re smarter when we’re happy, as explained in this great TED Talk).

Eventually, I broke down. For the first time in years I lost it and started crying my heart out while to talking to my Mom on Skype.

And right there and then, at the bottom of the pit, I started to let go. I started to surrender.

I started to be like water.


So, what does it mean to be like water?

Here in Boulder, I live right next to creak (a small river), which goes through the whole town. It’s totally awesome.

I love running next to it and looking at its different patterns.

The creak, day in and day out, is always flowing. It never stops.

But here’s the interesting thing. while the water follows the river bed, its movements are always changing, always adapting.

It goes around the rocks without problem, it speeds up when it needs to, and slows down when needed.

It’s always fluid, always moving, never resisting.

This is the same way we should live our life my friend.

Here’s how:

1) You set intent for what you want to do. You choose what you’re trying to accomplish, and you declare it to the universe.  Whether it’s building a business, getting a degree, finding your passion, finding a boyfriend/girlfriend or moving to a new city.

2) Then you start moving forward in the direction of your intent, while staying very fluid to what happens along the way.

When something bad unexpectedly happens, just trust that it’s happening just as it should be. That the Universe is somehow helping you out, even if you can’t really see how in this moment.

Just trust. Have faith. Smile.

And when an unexpected opportunity comes around, even if it doesn’t fit with your current plan, take a deep breath and step into it.

Just trust. Have faith. Smile again. :)

The truth is, we only have limited control over how our life unfolds. And we have 2 choices, either we resist what’s happening, or we flow with it.

When you resist, you get stress, anxiety and frustration. 

When you flow, you get freedom, gratitude and “lucky breaks”. 

It’s your choice.

When happens when you live like water? 

In the last few months, I’ve come to believe that there’s something greater than us at play. You can call it, the Universe, The Tao, or simply God.

When we have faith in this divine order, we rise above the daily turmoil.

When you get in tune with it, when you align with this force, magical things start happening.

The more I flow, the more I’m noticing all sorts of divine coincidences in my life.

Since I’ve moved to Bolder, I somehow got invited to live with the inspiring Amber Rae, I’ve become friends with some incredible entrepreneur, including the awesome guys behind The Unreasonable Institute and Rework.

I’ve had all sorts of meaningful encounters and coincidences that just can’t be a function of luck.

Even crazier, I unexpectedly got offered a spot into The Bold Academy, an extraordinary 4-week program happening in July design to accelerate greatness and help us make BIG things happen in the world.


Oh yeah, I’ve been in Boulder for less than 2 weeks!

I remember 14 days ago, I was packing up my stuff in San Diego, wondering if I was being totally crazy.

But I flowed with it. And now magic is happening.

So my friend, over the next few days,  try and notice when you’re resisting something instead of flowing with it. And surrender to it. Let go.

Whenever you get critical about a situation, stop yourself and CHOOSE to trust it’s the Universe’s way of teaching you something.

That it’s exactly what you need right in this moment. 

This is a practice that takes time and consciousness, but it holds the key to taping into some kind of universal superpower.

Not only will staying more relaxed and trusting allow you to stay in an optimal mindset, but you will also have a great aura of positive energy around you which will attract people to you.

I know this might sound a bit “out-there” but why not give it a try for a while?

Be like water my friend. Fluid, soft and yielding.

Align yourself with the flow of the Universe.

And watch in wonder as everyday miracles start to happen in your life.

Namaste :)


PS- What’s one situation where you find yourself resisting instead of flowing? Please share in the comments below!

Please share this post, because that’s how more people can learn to go with the flow!

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PS. Ever feel overwhelmed trying to reach your goals? Watch my TEDx talk to accomplish more with less stress.


  • I really dig this. I’ve had A LOT of people comment lately on how I live my life. I just spent a week in Iowa, a day at home (palm springs, ca) a week in North Carolina, took a bus from NC to Jacksonville fl, 2 days in jax, then i road tripped w/ a friend from JAX to Palm Springs in 3 days. Home for a day. San Diego for 2 days just hanging out, seeing friends and loving life. I move to Maui next thursday (most likely).

    People ask me how I’m moving to Maui. I still don’t have a place to live, a job, or even a couch to surf while I’m trying to find a place. Living in Mammoth helped me really focus on “The only day that matters is TODAY. The only day I’m allowed to worry about is TODAY.” I only deal with today, tomorrow will take care of itself.

    I couldn’t decide on a date to move to Maui. I had picked the 11th but it didn’t feel right. Some things came up that I wouldn’t be able to do till the 13th so I picked the 14th. Soon enough but it gives me enough time.

    When things in our life happen outside of our control we understand and accept that as some form of divine direction and we work around it. We’ve every reason to be petty and get upset that forces stronger than us won’t bend to our will but it’s been wiser lately to laugh, accept the correction from G-d and enjoy the alternate path.

    It always freaking works out and it always works out incredibly. We can question it and try and decipher it or we can enjoy the beauty of what it is and embrace that tomorrow is going to be more glorious than we can plan for – and it’s precisely that we’re not planning it that it’s going to be.

    • Nice I love it dude!! Like you say, whenever we live in the flow, not only do things work out, oftentimes they workout BETTER than we could ever have imagined.

      Pretty sweet you’re headed to Maui after a great winter season in the mountains.. I would ask what’s your plan when you’re there but let me rephrase that: what’s your intention for going there? :P

      • Ha! My plan is to make money. I want to work a tip heavy job where I can save a bunch of money, so when I want to travel to Australia in October with my friend who’s a world class wedding photographer, i can do that. The plan is to live in the best places in the world, have the best time, and make money right now. Wanting to end this stint in Maui with $10k in the bank, but we’ll see how that works out.

        To be entirely honest, yesterday was my freak out day. I realized I move to Maui in 3 days and I have NOTHING planned. No couch to surf when i arrive, no apts to view, no job lined up, no friend, freaking nothing. Yesterday I set up 2 apt viewings and came up with a plan for if none of my couchsurfing requests come through. I fly in, “forget” my checked luggage, sleep in the airport or walk to a hostel, wake in the morning, take the bus to kihei, view apartments….and then….make friends? Find a place to crash? Find some trees to hang the hammock between? That’s about as far and as detailed as the plan is right now but it’s going to freaking work out because i’m supposed to freaking be in Maui.

  • Love this article! Water philosophy always reminds me on this diagram :)

    I’m trying to implement it in my lifestyle as often as I can. I’m so glad to hear you’re living, learning and becoming who you want to be! Just continue like this and follow your instinct, it has helped you a lot so far. Cheers bro! ;)

    • Hahah nice diagram. It’s really simple when we break it down, our ego just insists on wanting to control everything and making it all stressful.

      Keep rocking out Ivor, I have a strong feeling you’re on the right path too my friend.

  • Loved your post. I recently went through a huge life-changing event (leaving a cultish religion at the age of 52) and the only way to describe it is falling into a bottomless pit and free-floating into ?????? Since then I have found great peace in the very teaching you describe. Be the water, not the rock. I have realized too that there is a natural flow to my life, and when I don’t resist, it carries me along nicely. I often remember the words of Eckhart Tolle: Offer No Resistance….

    Thanks for sharing your insights, energy, and enthusiasm.

    • Hey Greg!

      I’m very glad this resonated with you. I command you for taking that big leap in your life, it seems as though sometimes things need to get worse before they can get better. I hope this decision opens you up to a whole new world of possibilities.

      Keep flowing my friend!

  • Hi Phil,

    I love your positive energy and ideas! My goal is to travel full time. I’ve been working on paying off my debt for about a year now and trying to figure out what I can do on the road to fund my traveling dream. Any ideas :)

    Chris! Good for you for just going for it! That’s awesome!

    You ask at the end of your water post to name something where we find ourselves resisting instead of flowing and you know the one and only area I’m not kickback in is when I’m in love. I find myself scared and insecure. Any suggestions for dealing with that?

    I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts and ideas….I just found your page last week!

    Have a wonderful holiday :)


    • Hey Lori!

      Thanks so much for your kind words and I’m inspired to hear that you’re creating a life on your own terms. Have you read the 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss? If you haven’t yet, make sure you pick it up right now! It’ll blow your mind..

      With regards to love… aahhh if only I had the answer to that one. I do that too sometimes, and I’m still not sure why. Let me know if you figure it out on your end :)

      Have a great day!

  • I have always liked this water analogy.
    But I find it also helps to think like a kayaker, and to paddle for the best flow.

  • It’s difficult to find experienced people for this subject, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  • May I simply just say what a relief to find someone that really knows what they’re talking about on the web. You actually realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people need to check this out and understand this side of your story. I can’t believe you’re not more popular because you certainly possess the gift.

  • I was very happy to discover this web site. I need to to thank you for your time due to this wonderful read!! I definitely really liked every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to see new things in your website.

  • Thanks for the one of the nicest blogs i have read within a when.

  • Hi Phil!

    I cannot describe how much your advice and insight is helping me recently. I’ve been going through some tough times lately that I didn’t think I’d come out of again… But lately I’ve been feeling like a whole new person, a positive outlook on everything and taking on 5 30 day challenges, (cold showers being the hardest), my life is changing for the better, and I’m being a positive influence for the people around me too.

    Thanks for everything and keep doing what you’re doing.


So, what do you think?