Learn how life is “a story book” that contains choice, chance, and love. These are part of a cosmic recipe for the chapters of your life. The trick is learning how to write your own story and understanding what letting go of life expectations means. Please find out how to do it.
Before we tackle the concept of letting go, we need to talk about the three ingredients of life. Once we understand what they are and how they relate, putting them together becomes clear.
Surfer and Train Trip Analogy
We will use an analogy to help clarify the process. The analogy is the difference between riding on a train and surfing. When you ride a train, it follows the tracks; this is a plan. You have a high degree of what you expect to happen. Surfing is different. Surfing is working with the wave while working out your plan but being ready for unanticipated changes. You anticipate unforeseen variables of wind and the depth of the ocean.
The variables of surfing and the expectations of a train trip include the three ingredients of choice, chance, and love. Sometimes we aren’t aware of them because we are focused on the events which contain them.
All this time, you thought surfers were anti-social slackers. But, they train the mind to expect the unexpected and react just the right way to keep balance and the direction they want. Letting go of expectations means learning to go with the flow of life instead of against it. We’ll talk more about this shortly. But first, let’s look more closely at the ingredients that go into this journey.
The Elements of Choice, Chance, and Love
“Learn how life is a story book you write one page or day at a time. Sometimes we don’t use the ingredients in the right amounts and that changes the story in ways we don’t want. Sometimes chaos and chance can change the plot and we must learn to write new plot twists.” — Guru Tua
The Fallacy of Choice
The concept that we make our own choices seems straightforward, but it’s not. Not everyone has the same options in life, so this limits the available alternatives. If you are in the minority or a lower socioeconomic class, your choices are not the same as those of a white male with a middle-class background. One of them has many more educational and life options than the other. One may need to quit high school early to help support the family with a minimum-wage job if they can find one.
Sometimes it becomes a choice between two lesser options. The choice is obvious if you can’t find a job because your travel options are limited, and your choices are stealing or starving. People not faced with this situation will say these people need to find a job or get welfare. But if you are hungry today, you can’t wait until you can fill out forms and have those forms approved and wait weeks for the answer.
Choices are different if you have a disability of any kind. Sure, some laws protect both minorities and people with disabilities. Still, laws do not create the same opportunities for those who can afford to pay for exceptional health care and educational services.
It is evident to people from other modern countries that the system in the USA is set up to oppress those of specific backgrounds. Choices are limited to keep people from representation in the government for that very reason.
Accept how life is a storybook that may not have opportunities like others, but you can control how you handle the obstacles.
Preparing for Chance and the Unexpected
Chance is just the possibility of something occurring, like coin flipping. Preparing for the consequences of life decisions is difficult because no one other than yourself can bear the burden.
Life would be easy if we had all the information about every significant life decision ahead of time. But that’s not reality. Most major life decisions are time sensitive, but we often do not have time to research every aspect. Also, most major life decisions cannot accurately predict unintended consequences.
So, we are back to the analogy of the surfer. You make the best decision you can in the time you have with the information you have and then see what happens. In this case, letting go of life means being flexible. If you turned too sharp, can you turn back? If you don’t turn quickly enough, can you still correct it? Or do you end up failing and learning from the experience?
You’ll keep committing the same mistake if you don’t have the skill set to learn from failing. That’s why there aren’t there are very few world-class surfers. They fall a lot, but they learn and have persistence because they want to surf.
Chance, chaos, coincidence, and synchronicity are different ways to express the same thing. What you call this kind of change doesn’t matter as long as you remember the basics. First, pick the wave that looks and feels right, which means trust your instincts about major life decisions. Second, paddle to catch the wave, which means do as much as possible to prepare. Third, always maintain your balance. Maintaining balance means controlling your emotional equilibrium. When you are calm, you make better decisions and make proper adjustments.
The Secret Ingredient of Love
There are many kinds of love, but no matter the flavor, it’s one of the strongest positive emotions. Sometimes love is uncontrollable, and we can direct or learn to project it. It is hard to expect the unexpected when dealing with love. Love is chaos.
Compassion for others is a type of love. It’s an emotion that can be an automatic response to another, or it can be because of a decision. It is the same with being friendly. You can choose to be friendly or unfriendly. It brings life’s formula, choice, chance, and love to the forefront.
Love and chance intersect at specific times, which present us with an opportunity, a choice. For example, you witness someone on the street who has had an accident; they’ve fallen and are hurt. It is your opportunity to open your heart and help.
In situations like this, our reaction is based on two factors. These are the value we place on human life and the number of others present.
The bystander effect (1) shows we are less likely to help someone if others are present. The more people present at the accident, the less likely for any one person to help. It is why crowds gather around someone who has fallen, yet no one helps them.
Another major factor in whether someone receives help is their social acceptability. If someone well-groomed and wearing a business suit falls, people are more likely to assist almost immediately. If a person considered socially unacceptable falls on the street, people are more likely to ignore them. Homeless people can remain on the ground for hours on busy streets, and people will pass them. The same is true for someone, not well-groomed and wearing clothes that don’t represent an acceptable social class. (2)
Age is another factor. Children are more likely to be helped than older adults. You can watch YouTube videos that document these findings over and over. Yet, there are also instances when some break the mold and step forward to help. We call these people the Champions of Kindness. They expect the unexpected because they are ready to show compassion. Choice, chance, and love are part of a powerful chain reaction that can
If you expect what is unexpected, doesn’t that mean you expect it to happen? The answer is no. If you already expect the possibility of “xyz” happening, that doesn’t mean you are prepared for “abc.” They are two different things. So, what does it mean to expect all the possibilities you aren’t expecting?
Letting Go of Life Expectations Means
Letting go relates to the concept of non-attachment. Many assume that non-attachment means distancing oneself from emotions and relationships. But true non-attachment lies in developing a healthy balance between love and detachment.
Most people can relate to the experience of loss. The suffering that comes with loss is our attachment. Meditation and mindfulness techniques broaden our perspective on life. They provide the space for us to question attachments. Material possessions, relationships, thoughts, and emotions all create attachments. The proper perspective of our attachment helps us identify things that limit our thinking and beliefs. It gives us the power to detach from previous outcomes and future expectations.
Letting go of life expectations means accepting everything is impermanent. When you can do this, then releasing emotional attachment becomes easier. Impermanence is also closely related to the processes of change and transformation. You can do this.
Chapter 1 Leveraging The Power of Choice
We’ve talked about how several factors which limit our choices. Making the best choice possible means learning how to create options. You’ve heard the expression, thinking outside the box. This is what some call brainstorming.
Brainstorming is a process that encourages the generation of ideas, free from judgment or criticism. It enables us to transcend traditional methods and limitations. Thus, allowing participants to explore uncharted territories and think outside the box. Without fearing being wrong or ridiculed, brainstorming unleashes the power of imagination. At the same time, it fosters a culture of open-mindedness and creativity.
You can brainstorm independently, but working with a partner or team will yield better results. We can use various online collaborative tools and platforms in the digital era. They have emerged, making remote brainstorming seamless and efficient. These allow teams to break down geographical barriers and ensure everyone’s ideas are captured.
Here’s how it’s done
1) Choose a comfortable space. A relaxed, comfortable environment where everyone can feel at ease to express ideas.
2) Warm-up. Begin the session with warm-up exercises or icebreakers to stimulate creative thinking. This places everyone in the right creative mindset.
3) Define the problem or goal clearly. Find different ways to articulate the problem or goal. Redefining the issue will help spark ingenuity and creativity.
4) Set logistical parameters. The best results come from conducting multiple sessions of 15 minutes, with a break in between each session of at least 5 minutes. Use this model even if you are doing the brainstorming process by yourself.
5) Assign a timekeeper and recorder. The process works best when guided and monitored. This way, people won’t burn out. Rotate this responsibility and use a whiteboard when possible.
6) Generate ideas. Encourage participants to build upon each other’s ideas. Create a positive and collaborative atmosphere. Cheer and celebrate ideas! Record all ideas no matter how crazy they seem. Encourage participants to explore divergent views, building bridges between seemingly unrelated concepts. This technique often leads to breakthrough solutions and unique perspectives.
7) Categorization and evaluation. Review and categorize the ideas based on common themes or relevancy after the idea generation phase. Evaluate each idea, focusing on its feasibility, potential impact, and alignment with the problem or goal.
Chapter 2 Surfing The Unexpected Plot Twists
Life is often compared to a journey. We are learning how life is a story book full of surprises and plot twists that can either derail us or inspire us to grow. Here’s an example.
Picture this; you’ve planned a trip. You create an itinerary covering everything from activities and accommodations to restaurant reservations. You’ve got your bags packed, your itinerary sorted, and you’re ready to board the train. But hold up; life has a different idea. Something unexpected happened, you’ve gone to the train station, but the rain isn’t running on schedule. In fact, all trips out of the station are canceled.
It’s time to shift gears from taking a train trip to surfing. Life’s like catching a wave — unpredictable, exhilarating, and sometimes hilarious! Trying to control every aspect of life is as futile. So, it’s time to put on your bathing suit and grab your surfboard. Time to go back to Chapter One and Brainstorm. Here, letting go of life expectations means not allowing our emotions to limit our thinking.
Whether it’s a sudden career change or a surprise encounter, embrace life’s unexpected twists with a smile as wide as a surfboard.
Chapter 3 Expectations Versus Reality
Ah, expectations and reality — the steadfast companions that never seem to behave as planned. Remember that epic vacation you meticulously planned for months? How it turned out to be an incredible but unexpected journey. The train trip was canceled, but you found everyone was in the same situation. The emotional impact of this situation can paralyze you unless you’ve learned about expectations. Letting go of life expectations means surrendering your right to become a victim.
You managed to share a cab ride with two other people who became your new best friends. You took a series of misadventures, including getting lost and finding a cabin near a lake where you learned fly fishing. Yes, life indeed has its sense of humor. It was the most memorable vacation ever, and none of it was planned.
The planning necessary represents the power of choice. The unexpected cancelation of the train represents chance. The joy of the experience represents love. Choice, chance, and love worked together.
Chapter 4 Learning How Life is A Story Book
There are some key messages here. First, don’t copy someone else’s pages. Don’t live your life according to someone else’s plans or expectations. It’s hard to do. Some parents try to live vicariously through the lives of their children. Breaking this chain is an essential lesson in life.
Learn to keep life in perspective and expect the unexpected to happen. Even if you succeed in the prescribed career path, living and achieving things someone else wants, you fail. Hence, you’ll be miserable and resentful because you’ll have wasted precious time and effort. Ultimately, the achievements will be hollow, and you will be unhappy. Instead, be your original unique self.
Do not discount the impact you have on the lives of others, especially acts of kindness. Even the tiniest acts of friendliness and compassion can make a lasting impression. We underestimate and misjudge our influence because of the mixed messages we get from popular culture. The priority of our society is to commercialize exceptions.
Take calculated risks. Your life won’t be interesting if you always take the easy route. However, don’t risk foolishly, but don’t shy away from challenges or opportunities that may change the course of your life.
When testing the risk, consider the impact on others and the environment. Don’t worry; you’ll make mistakes, but you won’t regret not taking advantage of an opportunity.
Finally, be sure to learn from your mistakes. Don’t forget them, but minimize them in your memories. Don’t allow negative emotions from an error to taint your attitude. Learn from your successes too, but magnify them. Use them as stepping stones to keep your attitude positive.
Letting go of life expectations means a lot of things. It means being flexible and resilient. It means letting go of emotions and plans. It means being a champion of kindness. Use the principles of surfing to be ready for the opportunities presented by choice, chance, and love. Accept how life is a story book and then decide how to write it. You must choose what energy to channel and what legacy you want to leave others.