How can something so “soft” be so powerful?

The Tao Te Ching says,

What is of all things most yielding
can overcome that which is most hard.

The answer? Water.

Water, one of the most “yielding” elements of nature, carved the Grand Canyon. It cuts through mountains. It fills holes. It supports life. It brings enjoyment and pleasure to humans.

Like water, “softies” Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King initiated massive social change in their respective countries without ever pulling a trigger.

So often we try to rely on our brute force or massive action to overcome an obstacle. “If I just try hard enough,” we tell ourselves, “I can overcome any problem.” Yet, that’s not what water, Gandhi, or Dr. King show us.


Water, Gandhi, and Dr. King have one thing in common—surrender.

They surrender to that which is much more powerful. Water fills crevices and detours around obstacles, until, over time, it can carve its way through them. Gandhi and Dr. King used the power of meaning, motive, principle and things that support the significance of life itself to attract resources—in a non-violent way—to their cause.

Surrendering is about opening yourself up to the greater force that is within you and around you. Aligning yourself with this force to let “thy will be done” will accomplish more than all your heavy-handed, “my way or the highway” brute force.

Surrendering is not an excuse for laziness. It’s not about “giving in” or “giving up.” It’s about allowing this greater power to work through you, to energize and amplify your actions when your actions are aligned with the greater good.

“Forcing” things to happen your way may work for a while. But all that does is create a blockage that will manifest somewhere else in a negative way. Surrendering is, ironically, the most effective way to overcome.

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