The Necessity of Surrender for Growth

posted on: June 18, 2020
author: Anthony Pellegrino


Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

The pursuit of mastery requires many things, but one of the most important is surrender, specifically, the necessity and willingness to surrender. It may sound strange, but surrender is actually necessary for victory.

Now, this may be an unintuitive thought, but keep in mind what kind of surrendering we’re actually talking about. We don’t mean surrender in the sense that you’re surrendering to your opponent. Obviously, victory cannot be attained if you’re giving up.

Rather, we’re talking about surrender in the context of the pursuit of mastery. In a sense, it can be thought of as a self-surrender.

The pursuit of mastery requires a necessity to surrender to your teachers, to your training, to your coaches, to your discipline. Your status as a master, in whatever it happens to be, whether it be in sports or in life, requires a willingness to surrender.

Let’s get into it:

Surrender to the Process

A boy surrendering

Photo by Jackson Simmer on Unsplash

Think about it this way: the first couple of times you try something new, you probably won’t be very good at it, right? The first time you step up to plate, or the first time you try to make a three-pointer will probably be a dud. And while that’s perfectly understandable, it doesn’t make it any less embarrassing in the moment. As George Leonard wrote in his book Mastery – The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment, “learning almost any significant skill comes with certain indignities.”

However, if you can’t get over these feelings of indignity, if you resist these temporary feelings of embarrassment or failure, then you’ll never be able to develop these skills. If you’re too scared to be bad at something, you’ll never be able to become a master at it.

Instead, you must surrender to the process – allow yourself the wiggle room to fail. Don’t resist these indignities – it’s an inherent part of becoming a master.

But, don’t be mistaken, that’s not all you must surrender to in order to pursue mastery.

Surrender to Your Teachers

Photo by Wade Austin Ellis on Unsplash

One of the most maladaptive things for your personal growth, whether it be in competition or otherwise, is prideful or arrogant attitudes towards the advice or teachings of others. If you find yourself ignoring the guidance of your teachers and coaches because you think you may know better, or what have you, you won’t get very far.

As long as you know how to wisely pick your coaches and teachers, there’s no reason to resist their methods. Any teacher worth their salt will only be pushing you towards actualizing your potential. Some may push really hard, which can easily be frustrating and cause competitors to resist or fight their methods.

Surrender to Your Discipline

Photo by Dave Lowe on Unsplash

It’s no secret that training requires discipline. It’s also no secret that remarkable progress cannot be achieved without remarkable discipline. Anything is possible with the right amount of discipline, right?

Easier said than done. Discipline is difficult, sometimes intensely so. As such, you’ll often be prone to resisting your training. It goes without saying that you must surrender to your discipline. You must capitulate the fight, and do what your discipline demands of you. Otherwise, you’ll fall short of your potential and instead of feeling fulfillment, confidence, or achievement, you’ll instead feel regret and self-loathing.

An On-Going Pursuit

Photo by Thao Le Hoang on Unsplash

Ultimately, surrender comes down to resistance – specifically the choice to cease resistance. What aspects of your competitiveness, training, coaching, or discipline do you find yourself frequently resisting or fighting? Chances are that this self-opposition is causing stagnation in your development and preventing you from sinking deeper into the pursuit of mastery.

A great exercise would be to make note of these feelings of resistance as they emerge. Write them down in a journal. Do your best to be mindful of them when they pop up in the future. Make the decision to surrender to whatever it happens to be. You’ll find that it’s easier than you’d think.

Soon enough, whatever insurmountable hurdles or plateaus you may be facing in your growth and performance start to wither away. You may even overcome them entirely.

What remains the same, however, for all competitors is that real progress-real growth-real mastery will never be attained without the courage and willingness to surrender.

Struggling with your willingness to surrender? Are you finding that resistance is hurting your competitive potential? 

Enroll in our online course, The Great Competitor Formula, today!

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About the Author

Anthony Pellegrino is a freelance journalist, writer, and content marketing strategist. He is currently studying to get his B.A. in Philosophy at Fort Hays State University. He works as contributor to Pulse Magazine and as a freelance content creator for several marketing agencies and brands. His writing is focused on philosophy of mind, metaphysics, politics, everyday life, and content marketing.

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