How Surrender Can Get You What You Want

Seems ridiculous, doesn’t it? Giving up will get you what you want? It doesn’t make a lick of sense… until you reconsider what Surrender actually can mean.

Okay, this post is going to delve into topics that some people may consider a little “woo-woo,” but those people are probably exactly the people who need to listen to this most carefully and openly (ah, the irony).

On the recommendation of one of my mentors, I recently finished reading The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection by Michael Singer.  First off… read it.  It’s really amazing.  Singer is a yogi, spiritual retreat center owner, construction company owner, and software company CEO who had a spiritual experience early on in his life that seemed tiny, but he continued to grasp at it for the rest of his life and it led into totally unexpected results.

Singer became fascinated with the idea of the Soul early on in life, when he found himself daydreaming and having an experience where he realized he was looking at his mind from outside it – sort of a “what would I be like if my experiences in life were separate from me?” thing.  As I said, it was a tiny thing, but it captured his attention in a way that would guide the rest of his life.  From that point, and a number of experiences that pointed out to him very clearly that the best things would come his way if he simply let them (again, read the book for more details on this), he made this pledge to himself and lived by it:  Whenever opportunities came into his life that could change it significantly, he would surrender to them and throw himself into pursuing them to their fullest.

This led to a successful construction company, his own yoga and spiritual retreat center, a stint as an instructor at a Florida college, and finally getting involved in his own software company that eventually spawned the online medical juggernaut known as WebMD.

Yeah, that Michael Singer.

We’re not going to delve into anything quite so esoteric today, but the important thing is that we keep this in mind as we start a little journey of our own.  I think we all know tons of people who do things that aren’t good for them, whether in regard to nutrition, exercise, and more.

I insisted for years that I didn’t need to get much regular sleep, for example.  I never seemed to need much as a kid – in fact, I was regularly lying in bed for an hour or more each night trying to fall asleep, and it hardly seemed to affect me. But as I got older, I found myself tired a lot – nodding off in class in high school/college, getting more and more frequent headaches, until I decided to explore the reasons and found through self-experimentation that getting to bed at 10:00 PM was the best thing for me – headaches started to cease (and I tend to get them again when my sleep is interrupted too often).  I read that somewhere, it clicked for me, and I tried it.

Granted, as something of a geek, staying up late was almost expected.  Games and internet chats, going out and partying with friends, and more were part of my life.  But once I surrendered to the idea that I needed that kind of sleep, all was well and I had my headaches and many other issues under control.

There are all sorts of ways that this can happen.  As I talked about on Periscope a week and a half ago (click on that movie below or here to get all my recorded Periscopes), one thing that many people struggle with in their health journeys is a tendency to decide that they “believe” something is good for them, when all indicators would tend to point at quite the opposite.  Many people jump onto a diet plan because they believe it’s going to help them – perhaps because of the people who recommend it to them, or the people they’re trying to emulate in their health journey, or what have you.

But there’s no secret to the fact that some people do better on a diet than others.  Ben Greenfield talked about this in a recent Obstacle Dominator Podcast where he discussed the genetic markers that indicated just how well a vegetarian diet works for people, based on the ways that their body can synthesize certain nutrients out of the raw materials of that diet.  Some people can handle it, some can’t.  Other people may go after a Paleo Diet because of what they believe – perhaps people at their Crossfit box recommended it to them and they want it to work to keep up with the close communities that are spawned there.  But… it may not be working for them.  People are different all over the place and in many ways.

Or they may think that running, or Crossfit, is a great workout routine for them, when all it does is get them injured and something like yoga or swimming or whatever is a better choice for them.  Again, based on what they’ve started and want to be seen finishing, or at least being a fan of, because of their circle.

The surrender comes into play when people stop worrying about what they WANT in such places and go after what they NEED 100%. Setting aside thoughts of “well, I’ll try it, but it’s not going to work” is tough, no doubt.  Belief is a tough thing.  But setting aside beliefs that don’t serve you and embracing ideas that do is what success is all about to a great extent.

So again – read The Surrender Experiment.  You’ll get a lot out of it, even if you don’t buy in 100%, I think.  And if it affects you the same way it affected me, you may be in a place where some more introspection (and more importantly acting on that introspection) can benefit you.

  • Joy Beer

    This does look like a must-read! And I’m definitely not a woo-woo sort. Thank you for this recommendation.

    • My pleasure. This book is amazing. And there’s also a “how-to” manual that he wrote titled The Unthethered Soul if you get enough out of it to go further!