I thrive on the challenge of conquering new frontiers. My best friend, on the other hand, is the most content person I know. I marvel at her stability, and she at my drive. The beautiful thing about our friendship is that we don’t judge or patronize each other. There are no attempts at conversion or condescending discourse over which one of us is leading our lives the right way. We genuinely respect our differences and value the influence we have on one another.

letting go
Photo: TheReignxy.com

In the span of our more-than-a-decade long friendship, she would tell you that I have inspired her to expand her realm of possibility, while she has taught me the power of surrender. Girlfriend has a 12th degree black belt in nonchalance. It’s not that she’s apathetic or unconcerned, she’s very proactive when it comes to handling her business. She just lives by the mantra that no amount of stress or planning can force fate. In fact, in most cases, worrying only inhibits the outcome. Of course this isn’t some new groundbreaking revelation. What is noteworthy, however, is the impeccable consistency of her real life application.

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Photo: Tumblr

The art of surrender is about understanding that once you’ve done all you can do, it’s time to let go. It’s about detaching from the outcome and allowing yourself to be okay with whatever happens, even if it means not having what you want. In my experience, it is at that point that the solution typically appears.

Out of sheer curiosity, I thought it would be interesting to poll a few creatives to get some perspective on how this dynamic plays out in their lives. Here’s what they had to say:

“Every time I write a poem with the intention of finishing it on the spot, I fail miserably. It’s not that there isn’t a structured approach to writing, there is. I can structure the poem, l can free write it, I can do both – but the work is complete only when I allow myself to hear the message that my spirit and subconscious are trying to send and they don’t operate on my schedule. I’ve written poems that have taken anywhere from minutes to as long as a year, but regardless, they all took the amount of time they needed. Writing is a matter of will, but it’s also a matter patience and surrender.” — Joe Brundidge (@Element615)

Photo: IG @element615
Photo: @element615 on Instagram

“I had been writing my first novel for eight years. I was offered a publishing contract and finished it in thirty-two days. Great, huh? Well, I sat around beating myself up about taking so long to do it in the first place. So, to top that off, I challenged myself to write my second novel in thirty days. And I did it. That still wasn’t good enough. Recently, I finished a three-book series, writing a whopping 30,000+ words over a weekend! A WEEKEND! Now, I’m trying to write 150,000 words in a month. Are you seeing a pattern of insanity here? Do I have a reputation for accomplishing the impossible? Yes. But I am also a slave to myself because of the amount of pressure that I put on myself to produce. After an intervention with my wonderfully loving husband and daughters, where they told me that they were proud of my accomplishments but wanted me to just “be” sometimes, I had an epiphany. I surrendered to my humanity (the need to sleep, eat, and watch senseless sitcoms on TV) and to the fact that greatness requires a balance of dedication and relaxation. Taking time to breathe not only recharges my energy, but my creativity as well. ” — Jamesha Henderson

letting go
Photo: Jamesha Henderson on Facebook

“If you would have told me that at the age of 23 I would be single, living in another country, volunteering at an orphanage and seeing my family a few times a year, I would have told you that you were out of your mind. When I graduated high school, I was obsessed with the idea of having a life plan. Being on a different continent from all that was familiar to me was not part of it. Yet, for the past three years I have been working as a missionary in Haiti at an orphanage for over 100 children. Getting to see these kids grow up, learning a new language and embracing a different culture has been the most rewarding adventure of my life. By letting go of my need to control the outcome, I was able to discover my life’s purpose.” — Mathew Paul

Photo: Mathew Paul
Photo: Mathew Paul

In your experience, how do you know when to grind and when to let go? Comment below.

On Saturday, May 21st, we’re hosting our inaugural conference about how creativity and technology are changing our daily lives, from our hobbies to our work. Will you be joining us? Tickets here.