Surrender to Life!

believe172I’m sure that you’ve heard the saying about winning the battle but losing the war. Well, what does that mean, and how does it happen? Oftentimes I think those who wish to accomplish great success have a certain mind-set. This mind-set is rooted in the concept that in order to achieve you must be fighting an uphill struggle constantly. The problem with this philosophy is that, sooner or later, you will deplete yourself of all your resources. I’ve spoken about this in a previous blog post, but, as time has gone on, I have become more and more aware of how it applies to my own life.

An incessant struggle ends up causing you a lot of anxiety and fear, whether you’re always consciously aware of it or not. To be the authentic You, the You that you want to be to surmount obstacles and use your unique potential, you have to establish and maintain an inner sense of peace and calm. Waves of turbulence would be fine if you were an ocean instead of a person. But you are a person and therefore should treat yourself with a certain amount of gentleness.

First of all, it’s essential that you let go of all fears you have about not achieving your goals or making your dreams into a reality. Secondly, it’s crucial that you understand that you’ll have to let go of some things in order to bring certain other and better things into your life. We usually associate the word “sacrifice” with something negative. It implies that you’re giving up something that you want or need. If you go on a diet, you might speak of sacrificing chocolate candy or ice cream or french fries or some other food that you particularly enjoy.

However, the sacrifice I’m speaking of should be regarded as something entirely beneficial for you and your  life. You may actually have to sacrifice your inordinate desire to succeed in order to experience true success. If that sounds like a contradiction on my part, let me explain.

When you experience a hunger for anything–whether it be food or fame, money or sex or something else–your body moves into a mode of tension that will not let up until your need is satisfied. But, what if that need cannot be immediately satisfied? How will you cope with a state of ceaseless tension or anxiety? The answer is, in letting go. Even if it seems like you are miles away from achieving anything significant, until you acknowledge the success that you’ve achieved thus far, no matter how minimal it seems to be, you will not accomplish more. To remind yourself constantly of that which you haven’t done or are not yet able to achieve will diminish your self-esteem and create a psychological barrier between you and ultimate accomplishment.

For most of my life, I’ve been someone who might easily be referred to as an overachiever. At the times when I’ve not achieved something, I’ve still maintained the mind-set of an overachiever. What does this mean? Well, I’ve always had difficulty relaxing and enjoying life for the miracle that it is.

Instead of living in the present, I’ve lived between a past in which I feel I haven’t accomplished enough and a future in which I have envisioned myself not accomplishing even half of what I might desire. Naturally, this has prevented me from experiencing the level of success that I might have enjoyed otherwise. And at this point in time, I recognize that I’ve been walking down the wrong path. Instead of walking down the yellow brick road to the Emerald City of my dreams, I’ve been walking through a forest of painful memories and shattered dreams. Rather than a fairy tale, I’ve been living in a nightmare of my own making. So, where did everything go wrong? How did I end up locking myself up in a dungeon of misery and dissatisfaction?

I don’t honestly think that we can always explain the twists and turns of life. Nor do I think we can necessarily analyze our choices and reactions to the circumstances that take place–no matter how much we might want to. To try to examine every detail of our existence would be like attempting to explain an exquisite work of art or to analyze a symphony or some other piece of complex music. We can conjecture and come to a few conclusions. But, just as many literary critics perceive what they wish to see in a work about which they’re writing, so we, when it comes to our lives, can only make random guesses as to why specific things have taken place.  Although it’s important to take responsibility for our lives and the choices we make, it’s impossible to completely comprehend many of our actions.

However, what we need is to surrender ourselves to life and that which comes our way. We need to combine striving for excellence with letting go of our fears of failure. When we come to a fork in the road of our lives, we need to stand still and actually listen to our own heartbeat. We’ll find ourselves at one with the harmony of the universe. There we’ll accept ourselves for the person that we are, in spite of whatever flaws or shortcomings we possess. That moment–the moment when we’re completely fearless–is when we will leave an open window for magic to come into our world. Miracles can only happen to those who are receptive to them, and fear is a great inhibitor. As long as you fear anything, whether it be failure or even death, you will not be able to use your full potential or experience personal success or fulfillment.

When I think of a story that demonstrates how easy it is to give up almost everything you have because of a desire to have achieved more in life, the classic black-and-white film It’s a Wonderful Life comes to mind. If you have seen the film, you probably remember how close George Bailey (played by actor Jimmy Stewart) came to ending his life. He had a beautiful wife he loved and who loved him as well as a healthy family and a host of friends.

But George reached that moment of despair when he could not look past the misery of the moment to the long-term consequences of a rash action. It was only through the divine intervention of an angel that he regained his faith in life and his desire to continue living. When that angel showed George what the lives of those whom he was thinking of deserting would be like if he committed suicide, George understood what a mistake it would be for him to end his life. In those minutes when George could only think of death, he also thought of all the exquisite dreams he had abandoned in order to live what some would think of as a humdrum existence as an “ordinary” husband and father and wage earner.  

In a way, the novel Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates echoes this same theme. It tells of a man and woman who end up living a life that neither of them would have chosen, simply because of a certain set of circumstances that came about. But whereas in Revolutionary Road the husband and wife don’t learn to accept their lives without constantly yearning for more, in It’s A Wonderful Life Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed manage to be content with what they have. Granted, a great deal more complexity exists in Yates’ novel than there is in the nostalgic holiday film. But each has a valuable message we can apply to ourselves and our lives.

Moreover, I think a valid point can be made–namely, that we can destroy ourselves by never being satisfied with what life has brought us. This lack of satisfaction is one reason that society is full of people who live in a continual state of unhappiness. They assume that another child, a new car or gadget, a new house, a trip to Europe, or something similar will give them the joy and satisfaction that they have not yet found. But, joy begins with a state of mind that lives in the present–a state of mind that can look at the beauty in everyday existence rather than at that which hasn’t yet been accomplished or acquired.

In another blog post some two months ago, I spoke about the importance of having a “vision”. Well, to have a vision is necessary. But not if it means that you’re incapable of enjoying today. You must surrender yourself to the present in order to get in touch with your destiny. And you must also surrender your ideas about how things must be in order to leave room for your subconscious to guide you. Unlike your conscious mind which acts like a self-critic, who is always there to tell you what won’t work or what you cannot do, your subconscious mind allows you the freedom to explore a myriad of possibilities in every aspect of your life.  When you’re guided by your subconscious, it’s like being a child again–fearless and intrepid, without mental tapes playing in your mind telling you about all the things that are unrealistic or unacceptable or just plain “bad”.

There will always be critics out there to try to make you feel less capable than you are. A few naysayers have told this Success Diva that I’m too compassionate and that I care too much for others. I’ve also been criticized for calling myself a “diva” since the term can have negative connotations.  But it’s our lives we’re leading–not someone else’s. We have to do what we think is best. When you start freely using such words as “Powerful” and “Successful” about yourself, some people will actually back away from you. But it’s only because it evokes feelings of inadequacy and/or insecurity in them.

Do not ever be afraid to go after that which you want with gusto and determination. Those who sit or stand on the sidelines watching the show are there because they did not dare to take part in the production. Seldom is it a lack of talent or intelligence or good looks or personality which prevents someone from achieving his or her goals. Generally, it is fear–either fear of criticism or fear of failure, or a little bit of both. Although it’s rarely possible to be completely impervious to other people’s opinions, it’s nevertheless crucial that you follow your own instincts and make the choices that you know in your heart are best for you, regardless of what others may think.

One thing that you must be prepared for is abandonment by some of your friends and, perhaps,  even family members. When you start to transform yourself from a timid or fearful person who felt incapable of making big dreams come true into someone who’s willing to step onto that path that will take him or her to his or her dreams, you’ll notice that some people simply can’t handle it. It isn’t that these people want you to fail, per se. They simply do not want you to succeed.

As difficult as it may be to comprehend, they would rather see a stranger excel in your chosen field than they would you. Of course, they will only end up bringing unhappiness into their lives with this type of mind-set. However, everyone is at a certain place in his or her life. And some people truly are not yet at the place where they can allow others to succeed when they themselves are not successful.

Every year, many people turn on the Academy Awards Ceremony to see actors and actresses whom they revere win coveted  gold statuettes that they themselves wish they could possess. Oftentimes, those who watch these award shows with such intense interest covet the fame and glory that these celebrities have gained. Yet, would these same envious onlookers be willing to make the sacrifices that those actors and actresses have made? Would they have been willing to wait tables just to pay for acting classes? Would they have given up spending money on things they desired, but didn’t need, in order to pay for training in singing, dancing, modeling, or acting? You might be surprised to learn how infrequently people are willing to sacrifice their immediate wants for their long-term dreams.

This brings me to what I said about winning the battle but losing the war. What are you holding onto in your life right now that you would need to give up in order to start making your dreams come true? Would you have to stop watching so much television? Would you have to stop drinking excessively? Would you have to make dietary changes or start managing your finances more shrewdly? Only you know what changes are necessary, and only you can decide whether it’s worth making those changes. If you would rather just survive instead of thrive, then you can continue living as you are now. However, if you would like to experience the sheer ecstasy of thriving, if you would like to stop being tormented by the chaos of the world around you, if you have goals that seem more like wishes because you see no hope of them coming true, tap into that courage and resilience that you already have within you and surrender to your destiny!

Make the most of today and cherish every moment! Live with passion, enthusiasm, courage, and confidence. Live Without Limits, Success Diva style!

Until soon,

Your Success Diva

 

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This page and all written material at the Success Diva pages is written by Alexis Wingate. All rights are reserved. (C) Copyright by Alexis Wingate. The Success Diva

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13 Comments

  1. Krystal said,

    October 12, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Great post, Alexis!
    I so enjoyed reading this and relate to much of what you are speaking of. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself! May you reach all of your goals and desires in true Diva style!

    • successdiva said,

      October 12, 2009 at 5:56 pm

      Krystal, thank you SO much! I appreciate your words of appreciation, and I’m immensely pleased that you enjoyed the post, “Surrender to Life”. May you enjoy more happiness, success, and personal fulfillment than you have ever dreamed of! Love, light, and blessings, Alexis

  2. October 12, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Alexis,

    What a great post! You have touched down on so many critical elements for success. I love the part about combining excellence and eliminating fears! Thanks for your amazing message!

    Think GREAT,
    Erik

    • successdiva said,

      October 12, 2009 at 10:20 pm

      Erik, I am pleased to hear such words of appreciation from you, and I’m delighted that I touched upon so many of the essential elements necessary for achieving success. Thank you
      so much for your praise! Live Without Limits, Success Diva style! Blessings always, Alexis

  3. Samuel Wirawibawa said,

    October 15, 2009 at 5:38 am

    I always waiting for your post Alexis.. I love your post very much.. God bless you abundantly..

    • successdiva said,

      November 8, 2009 at 5:17 am

      Samuel, thank you. I know I can always count on your support and encouragement and that means a great deal to me. Your friendship is priceless. May God bless you today. . .and always. ~Alexis, the Success Diva

  4. October 15, 2009 at 11:32 am

    What a wonderful, inspiring, motivating, and informative post. Great work Alexis.

    • successdiva said,

      November 8, 2009 at 5:16 am

      Nea, your words of appreciation touch me. Thank you so much, beautiful friend! Blessings in abundance, Alexis, the Success Diva

  5. Armina Evangelista said,

    October 16, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    very inpiring Alexis! thank you so much!!!

  6. October 16, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    Hello Alexis. This was a wonderful article. I love the way you ended it.

    “If you would rather just survive instead of thrive, then you can continue living as you are now. However, if you would like to experience the sheer ecstasy of thriving, if you would like to stop being tormented by the chaos of the world around you, if you have goals that seem more like wishes because you see no hope of them coming true, tap into that courage and resilience that you already have within you and surrender to your destiny!”

    Nice job!

    • successdiva said,

      November 8, 2009 at 5:15 am

      Stephen, thank you so much! Your words of praise are very welcome indeed. I’m pleased that you liked the way I ended my blog post, “Surrender to Life,” too. For you to have made such a specific compliment means a great deal to me. Blessings in abundance, Alexis, the Success Diva

  7. Adam Kraker said,

    October 19, 2009 at 12:52 am

    Dearest Alexis,

    As I told you earlier, I would be looking forward to reading your positive words. Well, that time has come and I’m pleased to say that we think quite a lot alike although, you have a better way to put it into words that are enjoyable to read. I’ve learned that this is a good thing in the blog business. I have a new blog in the infancy stage and I may take a tip or two from you ;). Anyway, I digress from the content of your article. I was so happy to read that you wouldn’t have it, someone telling you that you were too compassionate. The world could use plenty more of your kind. Rather, what I think their underlying attitude is is “You’re not paying enough attention to ME, nevermind those people”! Or it could be something even more self-absorbed in that your wonderful behaviour will highlight their shortcomings or general lack of concern for humankind. Just close your eyes, breathe slow and deep and envision yourself in the middle of ‘The Meadow’, it belongs to you! Remember, you need to relax a bit more.

    As far as you being caught in the middle of past failures (they probably weren’t) and future failures (you know you wouldn’t allow that), it might be nice for you to sit out in the garden with a nice cup of tea (insert ‘The Meadow’ if the garden doesn’t suffice) and think about what your goal really is/was when you start a project. I have a sneaking suspicion that you are accomplishing your goals but that you are not satisfied with the completed project even though it turned out beautifully. You may have changed the parameters as you went along with hopes of bettering your outcome which, was honourable but it is now a different equation. What was once the correct answer is no longer the correct answer even though it is, if that makes any sense. Just remember that you did accomplish what you set out to do. Sometimes an overachiever can view a positive as a negative thinking this will help push them forward, faster, the next time. Well, OK, I understand the competitive edge but it may just start you off on a negative on the next project. I think your third paragraph says it best when you say “let it go” to failures and this goes double when you realize that you really didn’t fail in the first place. Just try it another way if you’re not happy with the outcome but you did succeed in seeing that project through. You learned some things along the way that you didn’t know before and you believe it could’ve been done better. Hindsight is 20/20 however, I hardly call this a failure since you are smarter now than you were before and of course you would’ve done it differently had you known these things before but, you didn’t. No big deal, move forward armed with this new knowledge. There’s nothing wrong with excelling but if it is a ‘constant’ for someone, with no beginning and no end to a project, then they should realize that there may be no such thing as a ‘finish line’ to cross and therefore that feeling of satisfaction of a ‘job well done’ may never come. I think you need those ‘wins’ marked down on your mental score sheet to keep you feeling balanced. I liked this analogy, Edison was advised to quit when nearing the two-thousandth experiment on the incandescent lightbulb. They said he’d never do it. His response was that he had just found two-thousand ways it couldn’t be done but he always believed he would succeed. More than one mentor of mine has told me that I would only fail if I quit, that what I was trying to accomplish had been done before by people of lesser intelligence and money. I can’t quit, as it turns out no one can humiliate me more than I, myself can and quitting would accomplish that nicely.

    I’m sorry if I got too wordy but you inspired me. I need to get back to my own blog, I know. Thanks for your words and we’ll see you soon!

    Your new friend ,
    Adam

    • successdiva said,

      November 8, 2009 at 5:14 am

      My dearest Adam,
      Your comprehensive remarks are very welcome indeed! Thank you, my wonderful friend. You definitely have enabled me to look at things from a more positive perspective by urging me to pay more attention to that which I have accomplished, rather than always looking towards achieving more. I love what you said in this passage of your post, “. . .just remember that you did accomplish what you set out to do.” Sometimes I think that I tend to expect more and more of myself once I see that I am meeting my initial expectations. I appreciate your mentioning Thomas Edison, also. His success story has always been one that has inspired me greatly, Adam! Please know that you need never worry about being too loquacious as far as I am concerned. It makes me immensely happy to receive such thorough feedback, and I’m delighted that my blog article has inspired you to such an extent. I look forward to hearing your intelligent and insightful thoughts and opinions regarding more of my blog articles in the future. Love and blessings, Alexis, the Success Diva


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