As humans we have this incessant need to control everything. It’s in our nature to take our desires and attempt to push our lives to achieve these results. Fitness and nutrition for a large proportion of people is used to attempt to control their life’s outcomes. Whether exercise is used to lose weight, improve how we look, or prevent a slew of illnesses, we try to control the result. But what happens when it doesn’t work? When we step on the scale and we fail to see the numbers decrease. When we look on the mirror and still cannot come to terms with who we see there. It could be that we wanted something out of a relationship but it never materialized. I’ve begun to practice the technique of truly letting go in the past few years and it’s given me contentment.
Letting go is the ability to act and then to allow whatever happens to happen, then react accordingly after seeing it all unfurl. We try our hardest to do something because we love what we do and we are passionate about it, but we learn not to expect our exact outcomes to materialize. We create a vision in our heads but we allow destiny to guide our way to the result. Letting go allowed me to learn a few things:
1) Control is an illusion: can we control the people around us and how they react? Is it possible to control how the economy shifts? Can we actually control whether or not we are stricken with an illness? The answer is no. Control is simply an illusion. We can, however, alter the probability of success and the possibility of achieving something.
2) Things do take care of themselves: this is not a hall pass allowing us to be apathetic about change. This is a calm reassurance that the actions we perform in our lives create results. Your true needs will be met but it is not absolutely necessary that your desires will be met.
3) Less control means less stress: imagine not having to worry about wanting one result from your actions! It’s not to say that we do not take responsibility for our actions or the consequences. Think about the times in which you have relinquished control of the less important things in life and how relieved you felt!
4) Surprises are enjoyable: life has a way of surprising us at every turn. If we focus too much on our desired result we place blind ourselves to the possibility of having good things happen that are unexpected.
5) We learn how things work by tinkering: when we allow a result to materialize we gain a better understanding of its role in our lives and what we can take out of the experience. I’ve said this before: I left my position as a research scientist to truly become a life scientist. That is, to understand how we interact with others and how life affects us differently.
Try letting go. Try relinquishing some of your pseudo-control and see what happens!