Will You Choose Wood or Water?

Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)

Often people talk about “fighting fires” in trying to manage the day to day events of life.  If this is your life most of the time, how stressful!  But, as with all situations, we have a choice.  

In a fire, do we want to be Wood or Water?  Wood, of course, will burn and burn quickly.  Do we want to grow this fire by providing it with the fuel it needs to be bigger and stronger?  Or, do we want to be water?  Water that can reduce the effects of the fire and bring this under control?  The ultimate choice is ours. 

If we are wood we react, blame, accuse, yell, and jump to conclusions.  If we are water we seek to understand, ask questions, and remain calm.  It is not always easy to make a choice, especially when a situation is fraught with urgency and we have other people adding to the fire by being wood themselves.  Perhaps the simple solution is to quickly ask the question:  is my reaction here helping or hindering?  Do I understand?  I have been guilty of sending emails, or making phone calls that were accusing in nature, to only realize I don’t have the entire story.  Whoops, my bad and I have learned my lesson.  Seek to understand so you can later be understood.  I think someone famous said that.