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Do you go against the grain or with the grain?

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In carpentry, if you cut across or against the grain at an angle that is either perpendicular or anything other than parallel to the fibers of the wood, the wood may chip and tear.

On “against the grain” is defined as “to go contrary to someone’s natural disposition”.

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I often see advice that encourages people to go against the grain in order to step out of a comfort zone in an effort to reach for goals that are more aspirational than they would be if we were to just do what was comfortable for us at all times.

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On the other hand, you can find a plethora of advice on how you should do what aligns with who you truly are so you can thrive and lean into your strengths and what comes naturally to you.

I think that both ways of being can be necessary.

It can take going against the grain to find out that going with the grain is a more effective way to go — or, that there is a better way.

On the other hand, if you’re “in flow”, and living life in alignment with your principles, strengths and passions, you may not have the need to push yourself beyond your comfort zone because you’re already thriving.

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What works better for you — do you prefer pushing yourself to go against the grain or do you think going with the grain is the way to go — especially when aspiring for larger goals?


10 thoughts on “Do you go against the grain or with the grain?

  1. What an interesting question! I align very closely to what Ashley says. I try to go with the flow and sometimes it inspires me to start something that requires me to swim cross-current.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this interesting question! I had to think about it, and then I realized that ever since I learned about financial independence (FI) a few years back, I changed my perspective and made decisions that were entirely โ€œwith the grain.โ€ Iโ€™m trying to design a life that works for my limitations and strengths.

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    1. It is definitely a question that has a unique answer for everyone I feelings have evolved toward being more aligned/with the grain more of the time as well. Thanks for stopping by – have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I believe that the perspective matters. I may need to go against the grain of my personal tendencies if that means improving myself, but I also have to adhere to certain traits that will never change, such as my introversion. So while I can force myself to deal with people for the sake of living life, I know that I can’t be in lines of work that require being around them all the time, because my batteries just won’t recharge that way. Anyway, thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

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