Maybe You Should Stop Trying so Hard

Detachment is the real secret to freedom

Kyle Chastain


Photo by Andrés Ochoa on Unsplash

Have you ever been around someone who’s clingy?

It’s exhausting.

Clinginess is about control. People who can’t let go of getting a specific outcome become clingy and overbearing. In their obsession to get a specific outcome, they drive away the thing they want.

Maybe you’re not clingy in your relationships — that’s good. But how comfortable are you detaching from outcomes? Most of us, myself included, struggle not to coerce or force the outcomes we want in life.

There is such a thing as trying too hard. Strangely, the harder you try to force an outcome, the less likely you are to get it.

I’ve learned that detaching from outcomes means changing how I talk to myself about what’s happening. I haven’t mastered the art of detachment, but here are a few everyday strategies I’ve found useful.

Take Effortless Action

Every influencer and talking head on the internet tells you the only way to find meaning and purpose is to hustle and grind every day.

Know what happens when you grind something? It turns to dust.

I’m fascinated by the Taoist concept of wu wei. It literally translates to non-action or effortless action. And while it looks like an oxymoron, the best way to describe it is to think about water.

Given enough time, flowing water can erode stone. All water has to do is flow downriver like it naturally does. No need to smash against the rock, or even push against it. By flowing naturally, it can wear away any obstacle in its path.

How much time have you wasted trying to force something that clearly wasn’t working? Instead, what if you put more effort into something that’s already showing promise?

We want to believe we can control outcomes, but we can’t. That’s easy to say, but are you living it?

Wu wei doesn’t mean you just “go with the flow” and never try to achieve anything. It means pouring energy into something that’s already working, upping your chances of success.

Drop Your Labels



Kyle Chastain

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