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The difference between ‘Giving Up’ and ‘Letting Go’

Source | LinkedIn : By Fakhruddin Bandukwala

The pursuit of goals often blinds us to all else happening around us. It is like driving down a highway at max speed where your line of vision is restricted to just the lane markers going by. Such unsustainable effort in one direction will only lead to a burn out or a crash. Wellness and mindfulness efforts tell us to slow down. Of course the benefits of industriousness, hard work, toil are ingrained into us in our quest for success. However, as I learnt in one Art of Living training, too much thought or purpose without action will lead to frustration and too much action and effort without thought and purpose will lead to strain and stress.

The journey or quest for happiness often keeps us going to an address ‘just around the corner’. And after turning that corner your goal is still ‘just around the corner’. Keep going! This is where we need to be careful as it is the area between persistence and obsession. Persistence pays and obsession drains. While taking stock of these old goals and destinations, how do we determine if we are giving up or letting go? As with most things philosophical, the answer lies within. We need to often open up this room where we store these desires from the past and let the fresh air and sunlight clean up the dust and grime that has settled on what was once a lively passion and has shriveled up into a hardened desire.

There will be situations in life which lure you like the three sirens in Greek mythology. The sirens’ song, though hard to resist, leads only to the devastation of both body and soul. Quoting from Fagles’ translation of Odyssey, “Once he hears to his heart’s content, sails on, a wiser man.” This is the nature of letting go deep seated desires within us.  Feeding the desire only consumes the self. The single minded chase of that ‘just out of reach’ desire keeps us from developing other more fulfilling passions. In my own personal experience, I have enjoyed developing and working on new hobbies like writing, acting, photography, cooking, travelling. All of this is possible as long as the reins of the mind are in our hands. But once desire starts driving you, all these attractions now become distractions.


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