As the most graceful creatures of the sea, jellyfish float effortlessly in their dark blue world.
One might think jellyfish are completely at the mercy of the ocean’s currents, but did you know that jellyfish are swimmers? There are two ways that jellyfish swim—one way is by collapsing their bell to propel themselves. Other types of jellyfish can move many small cilia to rhythmically push water in the direction of their choice (see video below).
3 Steps To Live Like A Jellyfish
1. Chill out. Relax.
Life can be tough, but it doesn’t always have to be as tough as we make it out to be. We all have responsibilities, but what matters most is our internal state. Even when the outside is chaotic, you can train yourself to be like a jellyfish on the inside. One of the best ways to do this is by practicing meditation.
Jellyfish appear to be the least stressed organisms in the world because of their demeanor. And there’s something very alluring about that. What if you went through life with this kind of relaxed, free-flowing confidence?
It’s interesting to me how people range the spectrum from very laid back to very hyper and anxious. To become more laid back requires having the right perspective, which is best created by having the right routines. If jellyfish were human and wanted to retain their calm superpower, they would:
- Get enough sleep — it’s how we recharge, stay refresh, and maintain a good mood
- Exercise — the world’s greatest stress reliever is to MOVE
- Meditate — train your mind to stay calm and focus
- Read — a naturally slower activity that can whisk you away into another world. There’s a reason a lot of people read before bedtime!
If you do those four things, you’re ahead of the game.
The last part of the “be calm” secret is to put your problems into one of two categories: either accept them because you can’t change them or (calmly) determine and execute a solution. Worrying can’t fix a problem. We’re most effective when we’re calm and collected.
2. Redirect your life when necessary.
Jellyfish seem content to float along, but they will swim if they have a reason. Their efforts aren’t wasted either, as jellyfish are one of the most efficient swimmers in the ocean! 1
Australian jellyfish and toxicity expert Jamie Seymour experimented with a box jellyfish in a tank. He dropped two white poles into his tank to see its reaction, then two black poles, and finally one red pole.
- When the white poles were dropped in, the jellyfish ran into them and didn’t seem to notice or care about them.
- When the two black poles were dropped in, the jellyfish swam in a figure eight around them. Cool!
- When a single red pole was dropped in, the jellyfish avoided it by staying at the far edge of the tank.
The box jellyfish seems to have some amount of awareness, and can swim accordingly. Our awareness and ability to respond to our environment is many times greater than our transparent friends, and we must take advantage of that in order to live our best lives. Some people succumb to their circumstances and make little to no effort to redirect their path. It’s better to swiftly respond to undesirable circumstances. If life drops a red pole near you, run!
To swiftly respond to life events properly requires practice in decision-making. The more decisions you make and execute, the better you’ll get at it. The rewards or negative consequences of making or not making decisions respectively are high, so make sure you’re practicing being decisive.
3. Protect your boundaries.
Most jellyfish are not pushovers. In fact, the box jellyfish (pictured) protects its boundaries by being one of the most venomous creatures on the planet. A severe sting (covering a large area) by a variant of box jellyfish can kill a person in about 3 minutes. Scarily enough, the box jellyfish is nearly transparent, making it extremely difficult to spot in the water. As with everything else deadly, box jellyfish are primarily found in Australia.
Jellyfish, while elegant-looking and serene, are naturally aggressive at defining their only boundary, which is “Don’t touch me. Ever.” We too, must define our personal boundaries, and not just in a physical sense, but in many other aspects of life.
People derive boundaries from their sense of self-worth. This is how body language tells us how a person feels about themselves. A very confident person takes up a lot of space and they won’t yield it easily. A person with boundaries understands their value and wishes to protect themselves emotionally and physically.
One of the worst and most common ways people fail to set boundaries is being too nice. When asked to do something, there are people who will say yes no matter what because they desire to please everyone. Saying “no” is important sometimes! Not saying “no” is suffocating, and it’s like the jellyfish never swimming, only going where the tide takes it (those must be the ones washed up on the beach).
Being nice is one thing, but if it comes at the cost of sacrificing how you want to live life, you need to set a boundary! If you find you can’t say no, you probably care too much about what others think of you.
Boundaries are not rude, they are your natural right to protect what matters to you.
Jellyfish set boundaries like few other creatures. Give them their space or else!
Jellyfish Life Lessons Recap
- Go with the flow (relax)
- Redirect your life when necessary
- Set and protect your boundaries
Jellyfish are fascinating, gelatinous creatures. Don’t you want to be like one?
PS. If you’re stung by a box jellyfish, don’t pour vinegar on it. A study found that vinegar made the sting deadlier by causing 60% MORE venom to be injected into the victim! 2 3 4