Surrendering to Life does not mean inaction. It means acting duly but without any attachment to the outcome.
Someone who read my blogpost of yesterday pinged me wanting to know if ‘surrendering to Life’ was ‘accepting defeat’ or ‘giving up’. He said, “All our early Life, through being raised at home, through teachers and peers at school and college, through seeing the way the world behaves, we have been taught the theory of ‘survival of the fittest’. We have been encouraged never ever to give up and keep competing. Isn’t then the concept of ‘surrendering to Life’ a sign of weakness, a sign of ‘accepting that Life has defeated you’?” This reader’s perspective merits a discussion.
First, let’s understand that Life is not a competition. It is not a race either. And nor can you compete with Life. It is perfectly fine for you to have goals, ambitions and aspirations. It is absolutely fine for you to go after them with passion and focus. But, as you may have well realized through your own experiences, you may not always get what you want in Life – despite your best efforts. Or sometimes Life may act in such a way that, without any immediately evident cause or reason, your Life will change. And because your Life has changed, your aspirations will have to change. You will have to accept and live with your new reality – knowing and understanding that some things you planned may never be possible any more.
Let me give you an example. I know of a young lady called Preethi Srinivasan. Had Life not literally felled her in 1998, and left her a quadriplegic, Preethi would have played for the Indian Women’s Cricket team. She overcame shock, grief and agony, accepted her new reality and is now a motivational speaker who also runs this wonderful organization called SoulFree (http://www.soulfree.org/who-is-soulfree/) which she set up in 2013 to help people like her who are dealing with spinal cord injuries. Now, can someone like Preethi, just wallow in self-pity and will such wallowing restore her physical condition? What she can do is to live each day fully – celebrating the Life she has. And she’s doing this remarkably well. In fact, her Life is an inspiration to so many people – including me.
Now, if someone feels that Preethi has been defeated by Life, they are sadly mistaken! And if someone feels that she should be competing ‘better’ with Life, they must go live her Life before making that comment! To me Preethi has embraced the Life she has with total acceptance and this is the reason why she is a personification of the indefatigable human spirit.
Labels like ‘defeat’, ‘failure’, ‘loss’, ‘success’, ‘victory’ – all these are irrelevant in the context of Life. People who are labeling themselves or others are “armchair theorists” – they keep rocking away with their opinions but never really get going in Life!
There’s only one way you can respond to Life. Which is to accept whatever comes your way, whatever happens to you, and live your Life one day at a time. The action I talk about is doing whatever you can do each day, doing it well, and leaving the outcome to Life. You just be sincere with your living – and your doing. Leave what you are given at the end of each day up to Life. Not doing what you can do in any context – well, that’s inaction. Therefore, ‘surrendering to Life’ is not inaction. In fact, if you truly understand the power of ‘surrendering to Life’, you will value a ‘good night’s sleep’ as your biggest blessing, your greatest wealth at the end of each day – and never the money you have made or the money that you are pining for!
The best principle, as I told my reader friend, is to not think too much about Life. Just do your best daily – and live with what you have been given, fully!