It’s a fallacy that you should be able to ‘try harder’ to achieve success. And conversely, that if you’re not ‘successful’ (whatever that means to you), that you’re simply not trying hard enough.
Have you ever done yoga? Struggling and striving to get into a posture; master your breathing; clear your mind of thoughts or hold a stretch that feels like it might snap you in two.
Now I haven’t done yoga for quite some time, but I can remember this clearly: It is often in the moments of surrender and therefore the absence of resistance, that you make the biggest shifts.
Trying to hold some (infernal- haha!) stretch or pose and resisting it leads to greater pain, discomfort and frustration.
Surrender to what’s present and breathe into it, and you can stretch further, reach farther or breathe more deeply. Innately, you feel you need to try harder to achieve what you’re striving for. Paradoxically, the achievement happens when you stop trying and instead, surrendering and allowing the pain or discomfort to be there.
When you try harder in business, work or life and resist rest or self care or doing less, you’re likely to experience:
-> more shame, guilt, and exhaustion, and like you need to be doing more. So then there’s more grinding and hustling and leaving your sense of self further and further behind in the process.
Detaching more from your own feelings and embracing busy-ness.
Disowning yourself more in the process.
And essentially becoming more of a cardboard cutout than the ‘real you’ (who you may have forgotten).
The irony is that the less you focus on more doing, and surrender instead to what is present (yep, channel your inner yogi!) the more present you’ll be and the less you’ll need to keep climbing that proverbial mountain peak that’s always out of reach.
“Surrender is the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life”Eckhart Tolle
I talk with people all the time who are just exhausted from the dance of life. They buy a self-help book; subscribe to a podcast (or 10); incorporate a new routine; work harder than ever on their business and are constantly focused on doing more and trying harder.
It’s not that you’re not trying – you’re doing heaps.
It’s a combination of knowing what are the tools that will give you the most leverage, and also connecting to yourself more (instead of detaching).
How could you incorporate more yoga-like surrender?
- Surrender to the need for rest: going to bed when you’re tired; having a break; allowing yourself an actual holiday (without work!)
- Surrender to imperfection: getting something done but avoiding striving for (the unattainable) – perfection. And instead focusing on progress.
- Surrendering to emotions: allowing yourself to feel how you feel, instead of reframing it to something more positive, denying your emotions or pushing them away.
- Surrendering to not being an expert, and instead being a learner. ‘I’m learning how to rest more / let go of perfectionism / to speak my truth more’.
Awareness precedes all change so hopefully whether you choose to embrace any of these or not, you will know that ‘trying harder’ is not something you should be beating yourself up about. And instead, tell yourself: “I’m doing enough. I am enough”.
And this is a great quote by Ekhart Yoga (you can read more here):
“We shouldn’t view letting go as something that happens instantly. Part of letting go is the process we take to get there”.Ekhart Yoga
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