Personal Growth and Surrender
“True personal growth is about transcending the part of yourself that thinks it needs to be in control in order to be okay.”- Tiago Forte
I have always found it difficult to buy the idea of a “surrender experiment” or letting go of control.
This is because many times in my life, I have done things with the expectation of a clear outcome in mind.
- In elementary school, I studied to get top grades. I succeeded most of the time.
- In high school, I studied to get into the IITs or NITs- the top engineering colleges of India. Failed miserably and had to be content with a good-enough regional college.
- In college, I tweaked the approach a bit and tried to study for understanding and not just to pass exams. I was able to do so a few times in the 4 year period. But eventually, it came down to securing a job in the placement season.
During the above times, I did things expecting a certain outcome thinking that I was in control.
However, this approach barely worked except maybe during the school days.
Most importantly, I hardly grew as a person when I tried to overthink the future and control the outcomes of my action.
On the contrary, I experienced some of the biggest phases of my personal growth when I did things without certainty of any specific outcome.
- Left my first job after 8 months without any clear idea of what I wanted to do next.
- Started to write and began to learn marketing without knowing where it would lead me as an engineer.
- Pursued a liberal arts degree which didn’t have any guarantee of a job or placement.
- Quit a well-paying job recently to pursue self-employment so I can learn to act on the side- a long, lost childhood dream.
Each of the above decisions might not have led to any significant growth in terms of finances, status, or a corporate career- everything that is deemed important in your 20s.
However, I do sense a profound personal (and spiritual!?) growth and maturity as a result of those seemingly ‘risky’ decisions with no clear ‘ROI’.
I am still unclear about that last decision whose consequences I recently started living.
But I am hopeful it’d lead to something as the signs are similar to other decisions- things beyond my control, unclear path, and uncertain outcomes.
Maybe this is the path of surrender and letting your life guide you instead of the other way round.
It feels scary because we are used to “control” and not used to the “uncertainty”– which, if you think about it, is what life is all about.
Uncertain. Unpredictable. Constantly changing.
What we can do to enjoy it is to surrender to its flow with presence and awareness and just do what it is asking from us in the present moment.
What do you think?
Until next time
PS: This newsletter edition was partly inspired by the most impactful series of blogs I read this year. It is by Tiago Forte who wrote a 4-part series on “The Roadmap of My Personal Growth” explaining how practicing the concept of surrender from the book, The Untethered Soul, led to his personal growth. You can read the first part here.
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