We’re told to never give up, that we can have whatever we want if we just work hard enough, smart enough, focused enough.
We’re encouraged to pray to a god of faster, better, cheaper.
We’re seduced into the notion that if we just keep trying different angles, polishing our approaches, maybe even saying it louder and more forcefully, everything we want–for our ourselves or a person we care about–is within our grasp.
It’s a trap. And problem is often in the grasping itself.
The more we attach ourselves to a specific outcome, the more we risk getting hooked on a false sense of our power and control. The intensity of our desire often leads to an intensity of effort. Sometimes that works. Other times we are merely deluding ourselves that we have some sort of magical powers.
And there is a good chance we make ourselves–and the people around us–miserable in the process.
There was a time in my corporate life that I acted as if I was always one clever PowerPoint slide away from persuading just about anyone to believe just about anything.
There was time in my personal life when if I didn’t get what I wanted there must be something wrong with me. And I sure as hell needed to fix that. Or fix the other person.
There was a time when if things weren’t going my way my default mechanism was to work harder, speak more forcefully, hold tighter to the strength of my convictions.
And all too often, the harder I swam, the faster I sank.
It turns out you should never teach a pig to sing. It won’t work and it only annoys the pig.
It turns out quitting is underrated.
It turns out that despite how hard we try, some things are simply out of our control.
It turns out sometimes the more we want something the better it is to slow down, to let it be and, as hard as it can be, let it go.
h/t to Julien Baker for the title inspiration (and for being one of my favorite artists discovered in 2017 (thanks Claire!)