Why is letting go so hard?

When I talk to people about letting go of the outcome, they all agree logically. Emotionally, they find the concept hard to embrace. Here’s why.

Finality myth

As human beings our natural tendency is to view an outcome as being the final result. If the outcome is what we desired, wonderful! There’s no reason to continue.

If the outcome isn’t what we hoped to achieve, we’ve failed…the opportunity is lost. That’s how we think about outcomes.

The reality is that nothing is further from the truth. What people fail to realize is that outcomes carry with them the unstated term “yet.”

Nothing’s final

What happens when you achieve the outcome you desire? You’re happy, right? Yet, it isn’t long before you want more. It’s the desire to continue to improve, to excel, that makes life fun and exciting. A favorable outcome isn’t, nor should it be, final. It’s merely a stepping stone on the path to a fun, exciting life.

The same is true when the result isn’t what you’d hoped to achieve. It isn’t a failure. It simply means that you have succeeded yet…that there was a lesson to be learned that will propel you closer and closer to your goal. You’ll notice that I didn’t say “ultimate goal” because that would fly in the face of the desire for more once we achieve any goal.

For you

The next time that you get the outcome that you sought, or more, enjoy the ride. Take time to bask in the glow of that success. When the glow fades and a desire for something new and exciting arises, celebrate the opportunity to experience the joy of tackling and overcoming new challenges…achieving things that you wouldn’t have previously thought possible. Then bask in the glow again.

If things don’t go as planned, if you don’t get the result you desired, remind yourself that you haven’t achieved that result yet. That success is assured by virtue of your desire and by implementing what you learned in the previous experience. Combining desire and learning makes you unstoppable.

For our kids

When you see kids feeling down because the outcome wasn’t what they wanted, share the insights above with them. Get them in the habit of adding the word “yet” to their analysis of any outcome they achieve. You want them to think:

I am successful, YET I know I’ll soon desire more.

I didn’t get the result I wanted YET. I know that modifying my approach based on what I learned will move me closer to my goal.

You and your kids will find that you enjoy your life’s journey regardless of the outcome…and discover that letting go of the outcome really isn’t all that hard.

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