Mark Blasini


10 principles of fluidity


Gaining control in this fast-changing world requires the ability to adapt to changes and embrace uncertainty - in other words, to be fluid. It requires a sense of fearlessness that allows you not to rely on old ways of doing things, but to be able to switch up your strategies, your ideas, your approaches to problems in life. To not get stuck.

The following, then, are ten principles of fluidity that I try to incorporate in my own life to stay fluid.

  1. Resist the urge to idealize. Withhold judgment about people's actions. Put yourself in other people's shoes; imagine why they may have made certain decisions. Embrace reality for what it is.
  2. Tend to the present. Analyze your situation and be as attentive as possible. Dissect how you got there and imagine where it could lead. Refrain from judging (see principle 1) and refrain from making assumptions. Focus on what your situation is right now.
  3. Assume you are dangerously wrong. Question your assumptions. Assume that whenever you go into a new situation, you know nothing, and anything you think you know, you're wrong about. Force yourself to look at ideas that are contrary to yours.
  4. Focus on the connections between ideas - not the ideas themselves. Be eclectic. Replace ideas from different subjects or fields or areas of life together. Develop a note-taking approach that allows you to group related ideas together. (For more on this, see my post on the 12 tools of preparation.)
  5. Learn on the ground, reflect in the tower. In other words, shift your time and mindset between 1) practice and play, getting in the flow, learning-from-doing, and 2) reflecting - i.e. elevating your perspective, looking backwards and forwards, etc.
  6. Play with your perception of time. How you perceive the passage of time is up to you - learn to play with this. Transform dead time, which we tend to want to waste away with distraction, into alive time, where you are learning and absorbing and deepening your understanding. Slow things down to create long time - especially when you're planning. Speed things up to create short time - either to pressure other people to take action or to execute a plan effectively. Think long-term with mortal time - you only have a short time to live, so make decisions accordingly.
  7. Let go of useless emotions, channel and explore the useful ones. Useless emotions are frustration and excitement. Learn to distract yourself from these emotions by focusing on things you can control. Useful emotions, on the other hand, are emotions like anger, anxiety, fear, guilt, and envy. These are useful either in letting you explore yourself more or in giving you more energy and focus to take action. Channel these emotions into some quest or task. Do not, however, let these emotions control you; don't indulge them - use them!
  8. Experiment. Test your ideas and continuously improve upon them. Change your patterns of behavior. Recreate your styles or identity. Experiment whenever possible. That is the key to growth and security.
  9. Use what's available to you. Use what you hate to guide you. Use what you have to solve problems. Always look for openings when you encounter obstacles.
  10. Yield when possible. Resist the urge to argue or preach. Instead, take the indirect approach. Work with people's resistances; don't try to fight them or ignore them. Apologize whenever appropriate and always present the possibility that you could be wrong.