Tao Te Ching Day 40: Outcomes

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We try, we really do. I see it everyday in every person I meet. There is such a great effort given to being the very best version of ones self in the eyes of another. I see the exhaustion of so many worn out people, sleeping on the shoulders of those with blood shot eyes and stretched out faces.

We had been a people of accomplishment, a people of unrelenting will and can do, won’t quit attitude. We had been a people with the heart to conquer everything.

Something changed, the pandemic took a toll on that mentality. But I think more than that it showed people that the illusion of control that we all believed we possessed in our life was just that, an illusion. Once the illusion has been seen it is hard to un-see and the masks of a world of outcome chasers are beginning to fall off.

“Do not glorify the achievers so the people will not squabble…

TTC 3 (Lin)

I have always wanted to be a high achiever. I have always looked up to high achievers for their incredible will and undying confidence in themselves. The men that did the impossible and lifted themselves by their own boot straps, as they screamed, “Fuck gravity.”

Those were the people I wanted to be like. And so the toiling commenced. Toil, toil, I would on many a thing holding on with such a grip to life that I wanted to control so that I could look at my champions and they would have me join them on my Mount Olympus.

But the illusion of more, the illusion of achieving and lifting ourselves has had the curtain pulled back on it in the past 10 years, and as the world was asked to stop, the gravy train that was self reliance and pure force of will hit a wall. The wheels fell off.

And thank God. It was about time. I couldn’t keep up the charade any longer. Hell, I stopped being capable of pretending to be in control way before the pandemic.

I see the world differently than I ever have. I see a people so tired of pretending to control the world and wanting to be given relief in some form. Chasing money, fame, glory, to validate an existence that to this point makes very little sense.

Yesterday I wrote about my falling prey over and again to this same life style. The quick fix of the dopamine drip, that instills in me a lack of sick. A deep satisfying prick of a drug to my system that keeps me running into the great void screaming “here I come, the finish line I almost made it.”

It is insanity at its finest and it all starts with wanting to control the uncontrollable outcome of an unknown future. So Lao Tzu gave us this…

“They work with myriad things but do not control.

They create but do not possess

They act but do not presume

They succeed but do not dwell on success

It is because they do not dwell on success

That it never goes away.

TTC 2 (Lin)

There is nothing to do but live and let what may come, come. We drive ourselves and everyone around us to a place of sickness and exhaustion by our infernal want to control the future.

Yesterday, I realized I had been obsessed with the acquiring of money. Today I realize more to the point I was obsessed with the idea that I had such a definite control over my favorable outcome, and when I was proven wrong, like I always am, my world fell apart.

Because I began to live with an expectation of a perceived outcome that I thought I had control over. The serenity prayer gives insight to this as well.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change.

To change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.”

Serenity Prayer AA

There is nothing wrong with being in control. The problem arises when I place my idea of control anywhere outside myself. I place it in money, I place it in government, in other peoples thoughts of me. If I place my idea of what I can control anywhere but squarely within myself I am surely lost.

That is why Lao Tzu said,

“When Achievement is completed, fame is attained

Withdraw oneself

This is the Tao of Heaven

TTC 9 (Lin)

It is also translated as “When the work is done, let go. This is the way of Heaven”

It has been told to me time and time again since I was a child, “Matt, just focus on your work everything else will take care of it self.”

And the truth is, it has. Regardless of the state of the world, everything has taken care of itself as long as I continue to put in the work.

The tiredness, the exhaustion will leave us when we let go of our control of that which we have no control. We will be more at peace with a world that is doing just fine if we only focus on our own process and internal action.

Happy Day


Published by Matthew Whiteside

I am a writer, a storyteller, a yarn-spinning freakazoid. My life is full of two things today, lessons and blessings. I write fiction mostly but I also love to write about my life and the things I go through on a daily basis. Writing it out inspires and motivates me and that's why I do it. Plus if it does that for me maybe it will for someone else too.

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