When surrender (not "giving up") is the better option.
I like to make things happen.
Carve a path.
Get sh#t done.
Control my destiny.
I like that quite a lot.
Most often, this works out incredibly well for me.
I make things happen, carve paths, get sh#t done and control my destiny a fair percentage of the time.
But sometimes, things don't unfold in quite this manner. Sometimes, the wheels threaten to just fall right off Operation Foss.
You know the feeling?
As timing would have it, this typically occurs for me right as I'm at the peak of my busy season (January) or some other incredibly stressful period of time. And it's really terrific. (Said with extreme sarcasm.)
In a very Murphy's Law-like fashion, crap that is largely out of my control seems to find its way into my white-knuckles, pedal-to-the-medal, dear-God-I-don't-even-have-time-to-leave-my-desk-and-pee environment right at that exact moment when I'm least equipped to process or deal with it.
And my initial reaction is to fight it. Control it. Bully it out of my way.
Not surprisingly, this often gives me the exact opposite result than the one I'm striving for.
I had a little wave of this recently. OK, it was more than a little wave, but for the purpose of my article here, we'll call it a less-than-catastrophic wave. This particular wave was comprised of a delightful little medley of uncooperative people (not you fabulous peeps, of course not), unexpected expenses, health issues, and a family member's exciting-but-rapid career transition.
Most everything in this wave was stuff that I have little influence over, nor the right to control.
And so, given the situation, I had a choice.
I could (and did, at first) try to force my will upon these issues with the hopes that, somehow, I could bully or perform a desired outcome out of them.
(Uh, this just in... It doesn't work.)
Or I could surrender. Not give up, mind you. I will never, not ever give up.
I could accept what is and find my peace.
I could say yes to changes, transitions and challenges instead of fighting for my own preferred outcomes.
I could acknowledge that sometimes? People are just going to be jerky. It's probably not because they truly are jerks. More likely, it's because they're sorting through their own stuff right alongside of me sorting out mine. And that's not for me to alter nor manipulate.
I could conserve my energy for my family and my work.
And so that's what I did.
It's not natural (yet). And I still have moments during which I want to just yell, "Oh yeah? Well you can go suck eggs!" at someone.
But I am experiencing a true wave of serenity as I simply observe and experience what is going on around me and, in the instances of stuff I really can't (or shouldn't) control?
That's it. There's no magic or giant manual needed to do this. (Admittedly, if there were, I would probably be the surrender dropout.)
You just surrender.
Folks, there's so much that you can control, in your careers and in your personal lives. Identify those things and, for crying out loud, run like hell at them. Take radical responsibility for your own fulfillment.
But for the stuff you cannot or should not control? I vote surrender.
It can be be the difference between suffering and sanity, for real.
Is there something you've tried to control, bully or force your will upon that totally backfired? Any instance that it worked? I'd love to hear your stories or thoughts in the comments section below.