Surrender seems like the opposite of success. Surrendering feels like giving up. Like quitting. Like going back on your word.
It feels wrong. Like you’re leaving behind your life’s purpose, your mission, and your mantra.
But what if surrender is actually the doorway to achieving those things?
Being courageous enough to learn from whatever life brings you is the beginning of the best days of your life.
It’s been about two years now since I read The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection by Michael Singer.
It wasn’t a book that I went looking for. It was a suggestion from a close friend, Bill Cortright.
And the story that Michael goes on to tell about his own life of surrendering opened my eyes to a new perspective for engaging in the battle for success.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of the take-no-prisoners, whatever-it-takes mode of attacking progress.
If you have a dream of any size, you know how important it is that you keep fighting for it. You know the importance of never backing down. Never quitting.
You have learned that stubbornness is a benefit. If you can practice resilience, you’ll end up being more successful than just about anyone else you’ll ever meet. But it doesn’t mean you’ll achieve your true potential.
That’s where the idea of surrender comes in.
See, being better requires that you learn lessons from your less fortunate life experiences — not just the times you come out on top. Those lessons for surrender are all around you. And me.
- Instead of brooding about travel plans that go horribly wrong, take a moment and ask yourself what lesson you can learn from where you are right now.
- Instead of obsessing about why you’re in the mess that you’re in right now, took a step back and appreciate how much stronger you’ll be in the future when you face the same tough circumstances.
- Instead of trying to convince everyone who disagrees with you, practice empathy. Actively. Remember that you have bad days too.
Your options for surrender are endless. Every frustration is an opportunity. Every shortcoming is an opportunity. Every time you miss the mark is an opportunity.
Every delay. Every annoyance. Every fear.
Almost every moment is an opportunity for you to surrender to your next lesson from life.
By the way, if that back part of your brain is kicking in right now, telling you that surrender is giving up on yourself, let’s take a moment and squash those primal ambitions.
- Doing something is the most basic level of ambition.
- Doing more is the next level.
- Beyond that is doing whatever it takes.
- This idea of surrendering is the final level.
It’s not about doing less.
It’s about still doing whatever it takes, but at the same time consciously surrendering to the opportunities that come your way disguised as frustration and setbacks.
Your greatest strengths come from your greatest trials.
Look back at your life and you’ll see that the dotted lines of growth are all connected by misfortune and annoyance.
Building requires brokenness.
To stretch yourself, you have to let go.
Surrender — it’s the final frontier.
Your best is on the other side of that breathless moment you decide to accept without question anything life brings you. That you will, with open arms, embrace the frustrations and trials that come to you at the worst possible time.
This isn’t magic, so you won’t be able to make the decision one time and then live your life peacefully. You’re going to have to surrender on a daily basis. Sometimes on an hourly basis. You might have days where you are actively surrendering minute by minute situation.
Not giving up. Growing up.