Is It Possible To Switch From Leading To Being Led At Will?

Can we jump from going with the flow to creating our own?

Marti Purull

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Photo by Dil

We met with friends the other night. We played Bristol 1350, a board game where one must escape a plague-infested medieval town by riding an apple cart past the city gates while avoiding infection. You can stay in your cart, push symptomatic players out or jump into another, hopefully, more salubrious wagon.

At the end of the evening, headed home, as though still directed by the spirit of the game, we followed the crowd down the escalator in the underground station and missed a train that we would have caught had we rushed down the habitual stairs. On principle, I never take escalators going down; it feels almost offensively sedentary — at least it does if one’s knees are in good nick. The crowd was leading us, though, so we went with it.

We weren’t in a rush, we were probably just tired to think straight, and missing that train wasn’t dramatic; actually, it wasn’t even inconvenient, since we didn’t have to wait ten minutes for the next one. It just prompted a reflection about going with the flow.

Even strong personalities cannot always lead. It’s exhausting. This is — or should be — why some people get paid more to lead. It is tiring. It isn’t for everyone. In our daily lives, we often just need to relax into the current, to let it take us where it is headed. I don’t know about you, but one of the reasons why I currently prefer watching series over films is that you can choose one and — unless the choice was particularly poor — you don’t have to choose again for a couple of seasons.

Along these lines, I’ve always favoured choosing what I’ll be wearing the next day before going to bed, I did so even as a teenager, and I always have the same breakfast. Those are two decisions I won’t have to make in the morning, a time when I don’t particularly enjoy making decisions and don’t trust myself to make the right ones. In this case, it is a flow I create, and I go with it before my brain is ready to engage.

We all need to be led at some point. We all need to join other people’s flows. It would be stupid to expend all of our energy creating new tides or swimming against other people’s. There is no need. Some of…

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Marti Purull

I’m a musician, but I think every day. So I write every day. Thoughts. Reflections. Life.