The Surrender Experiment: Summary Review & Takeaways

This is a summary review of The Surrender Experiment containing key details about the book.

What is The Surrender Experiment About?

The book, The Surrender Experiment, tells the extraordinary story of what can happen when one decides to let go of his or her personal preferences and simply let life call the shots. The book challenges our deepest assumptions, teaching us how to stop making the outside world conform to our desires, let go of the need to control everything and place our trust in life’s perfection.

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Who is the Author of The Surrender Experiment?

Michael Alan Singer is an American author, journalist, motivational speaker, and former software developer. Two of his books, The Untethered Soul and The Surrender Experiment, were New York Times bestsellers.

How long is The Surrender Experiment?

  • Print length: 252 pages
  • Audiobook: 7 hrs and 46 mins

What genre is The Surrender Experiment?

Spirituality, Nonfiction, Self Help

What are key takeaways from The Surrender Experiment?

Takeaway #1 Let Go & Be Amazed

When you let go of how you think your life should be, amazing things start to happen. That's right, everyone who told you that you need a plan to succeed in life was wrong, you just need to set intentions instead! Even if you don't realise the greatness of the events that are unfolding right at that time, you'll look back and realise everything that happened at the right time and for the right reason. Life can suddenly become easy with the right people showing up, the right projects, the right property and so much more – The universe knows what you need much better than your ego does!

Takeaway #2 Surrendering Is Not a Sign of Weakness

When you surrender your life to the unknown you're being strong rather than weak, it's not easy to let go of your ego and let yourself go with the flow of energy and allow life to unfold naturally without you pushing it, forcing it, and making it go in different directions.

Takeaway #3 Listen

Slow down and listen so that you can hear what is being offered to you. Through meditation, you can slow your mind and body down enough to connect with your inner self and hear the guidance that offers up creative solutions. This is something that we simply cannot do in the fast-paced modern world that we live in with people and technology always stealing our attention. You might have some crazy ideas once you start connecting with yourself but this is your calling, surrender, and make those ideas a reality because this is your path in life and you cannot go wrong when you listen and trust your gut feeling.

Takeaway #4 Be Grateful

Start a gratitude journal and write in it daily. Be grateful for the people that come into your life, be grateful for the lessons you're learning, be grateful for the things you take for granted. Being grateful is another way to connect you with source. Make sure that the people around you know how grateful you are for them and what they do in your life or business, the more people feel appreciated, the greater they'll work with you / for you.

What are the main summary points of The Surrender Experiment?

Here are some key summary points from the book:

  • Challenging situations create the force needed to bring about change, so avoid resisting them. Use their force for personal transformation.
  • Learn how to live with the challenges that life puts in front of you but don’t call them challenges, call them opportunities.
  • You are better off letting go of what you want and letting the force of life show the way. This force managed to create the entire perfection of the universe around you. The universe knows what you need much better than your ego does.
  • Slow down and listen so that you can hear what life offers you. Any concurrences of events are like messages from life.
  • Do the work that has been put in front of you with all your heart, as though it were given to you personally by the universe itself.
  • Service can be much more satisfying than solitude and can help turn the course of your life
  • Accept the power of life's flow. The right people and the right opportunities tend to come to us when we learn to surrender
  • Accepting what you’re faced with is in no way the same as giving up.
  • Let go of the personal reactions of like and dislike. The more you do that, the more you'll be able to see subtle synchronicities in what was unfolding around you.
  • We tend to feel good when things are going our way. This is why we are constantly attempting to control everything in our lives. Learn to accept, embrace and feel good even when things don't go your way.
  • Treat events in your life as if they came to take you beyond yourself. If your personal self complain, surrender to what life is presenting you.

What are some in-depth lessons from The Surrender Experiment?

Lesson #1. Quieten Your Mind

When you find yourself in an awkward or uncomfortable situation, worrying about what people will think, you have the opportunity to awaken your spirituality because when you analyze your anxiety, you can reflect on your true self aka your consciousness.

Author Michael Singer discovered his spirituality when an embarrassing situation allowed him the opportunity to analyze his thoughts. During a difficult discussion, he could understand that his conscious mind and his anxious mind were 2 separate systems and therefore, continue with the topic at hand.

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You can stop the bothersome chatter in your head, known as your anxious mind, from distracting you by learning Zen meditation, a practise that involves focusing on your breath and repeating special sounds. When mastered, this form of deep meditation can completely quiet an anxious mind leaving you with a sensation of complete relaxation and silence due to your awareness of self completely vanishing.

Lesson #2. Surrender To Life Flow

Ever ask yourself “Why does bad weather always spoil my plans?” or “Why is it only ever sunny when I’m stuck in school or work”? These bad feelings, in this case generated by the weather, are all due to your resistance.

You see, if you have an anxious mind, you’ll often rail against things that you cannot change and cannot control, being easily irritated and affected by many more things than just the weather. Your resistance makes you nervous and agitated, it makes you desperate to find excuses not to do something whilst justifying your actions to yourself and others around you.

There’s another way to live. Learn how to live with the challenges that life puts in front of you but don’t call them challenges - call them opportunities and embrace them wholeheartedly. When you let the flow of life take charge, you find solace not stress.

Lesson #3. Seek Service Not Solitude

Think of a time when you said no to a friend or family member who asked if you could help them out in some way because you thought it was too much of a commitment. Michael Singer tells us that service is much more satisfying than solitude and can help turn the course of your life around in ways you never could have imagined.

For example, the author of The Surrender Experiment chose to accept a job interview, offered by a friend, for an economics teacher position despite having no particular interest in the job. Going because he didn’t want to offend his friend, Michael discovered mid-interview that although he had no interest in teaching the students economics, he would really enjoy teaching meditation and relaxation techniques. The program director who was running the interview loved the idea and accepted the author’s proposal.

So you see, even when you do things that wouldn’t ordinarily interest you, when you say yes to challenges you would usually say no to (walking a dog even though you’re a cat person, babysitting for an hour even though you think you’re rubbish with kids, or accepting a job interview that you think is totally unsuitable for you, you step out of your comfort zone and enter onto an unexpected life path.

Say yes more and see where life leads you.

Lesson #4. Building a Business Is Easier When You Follow The Flow Of Life

Spirituality and meditation is often associated with monks, hippies, and creative people who have no real interest in the material world but spirituality can help you reach your business goals as the author of The Surrender Experiment can attest to.

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Thanks to saying yes to new opportunities and taking every opportunity presented to help someone, Michael became a carpenter, the local policeman having seen and admired the community temple that the author had built. This led to more people asking if Michael could do jobs for them and all of a sudden, business was booming and the author had a flourishing carpentry company on his hands. At this point, Michael needed capital but was rejected by several banks due to his lack of experience. Not giving up, he asked one last bank. The president of the bank saw the request and decided to go and see the temple Michael had built. He liked what he saw so authorized the loan and the business grew from strength to strength. The story came full circle when that same bank director quit his job to follow his dream, in this case to open a video store. Now he was the person who needed a loan and Michael was happy to say yes.

Lesson #5. Life Helps You Do More Of What You Like

When author Michael Singer first saw a TRS-80-Computer with its 12” screen in a shop window, he had a feeling that this strange yet fascinating futuristic machine might be useful so he followed his gut instinct and purchased it.

Learning how to use a computer for the first time, Michael became interested in computer programming, finding this new language of coding as relaxing as meditation. Learning fast, he soon found himself on a new career path, coming up with a computerized accounts system for his carpentry business. Before he knew it, just like with his carpentry business before, people were asking him to create software for them. One day, he had a phone call from a new client asking if he could create medical billing software for them. One amazing opportunity led to another and another with Michael soon working alongside a team.

Imagine where our author would be if he’d never purchased that computer that day... Imagine where you might end up if you say yes instead of no...

When you surrender to life completely, the universe acknowledges your unexpected talents quickly, giving you more and more perfect opportunities.

Lesson #6. Life Gives You Exactly What You Need

The right people and the right opportunities come to you when you surrender, all you need to do is accept and embrace the solution. Think about the times you’ve struggled with a problem, not finding the solution quickly or easily because you were too stressed and anxious about it, or even believing it to be the wrong solution? Now think of the time or times when you’ve received exactly what you needed at exactly the right time - were you more relaxed then, more surrendered?

Author Michael Singer realized that life gives you what you need through a series of unfortunate events. At the start of his carpentry business venture, he was dealing with a very demanding customer who wanted numerous changes under very short deadlines. A lot of people would have said ‘enough’s enough’ but Michael persevered, receiving $35,000 at the end of the project. It wasn’t just the money that made this project worth the struggle though, about a week after completion, he got a call saying that the previous demanding client had to move house and was willing to sell the construction to Michael for $37,000.

Similarly, one day the author was informed that the land his community temple was built on couldn’t be used for commercial purposes. The city planners then decided to build a waste dump right next door - the plans were finally scrapped after protests and the wasteland next to the author’s temple came up for sale. It was perfect for the author’s commercial venture.

Lesson #7. Extreme Success Comes From Continued Surrendering

If you were offered a $300 million company out of the blue, would you say yes to the huge responsibility?

Achieving massive success requires you to get used to the idea that you’ll likely have to work hard to maintain it and be forced to expand. It also requires you to know when to stop and when to let your baby, your creation, fly free for the greater good.

Michael Singer built up his software business throughout the 1980s with the help of Larry Horwitz, together creating one of the most successful computer software of its time; Medical Manager. After the completion of that project, Michael was contacted by Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, one of the biggest insurance providers in the U.S.A to create a management system that would help with the digitization of their medical practises. The software that Michael created was so successful that he was forced to expand his business with investors forming a public company. This meant letting go of every decision making process and the rights to the previous software that he’d built but he knew it had to be done, was part of his journey.

Lesson #8. Surrendering Involves Accepting Extreme Adversity

When life gives you lemons, making lemonade is easy, but what happens when life gets tough and you’re faced with a prison sentence? You have to accept the situation you find yourself facing but must never give up on your principles.

In 2003 Michael Singer was placed under suspicion of fraud, his office raided and his assets confiscated. This was due to an employee who had been accepting bribes from the companies that he brought in, he knew he had been found out by the company so went to the FBI trying to put the blame on Michael.

For most people, this would have ensured a crippling period of stress of anxiety but Michael knew how to surrender to life. He kept calm and came to terms with the situation he faced.

Accepting what you’re faced with is in no way the same as giving up. It means fighting back but with patience and dignity.

Michael was aware that defending the company he’d built up from scratch would be extremely difficult so he hired more than 30 attorneys but even so, was forced to give up his position as CEO. It took 5 years for the case against Michael to be dropped because there was no evidence against him.

Those 5 years allowed our author the time to write The Untethered Soul which went on to become a New York Times bestseller.

What are the chapters in The Surrender Experiment?

Chapter One - Waking Up
Chapter Two - The Great Experiment Begins
Chapter Three - From Solitude to Sevice
Chapter Four - The Business Surrender
Chapter Five - Something Priceless is Born
Chapter Six - The Forces of Natural Growth
Chapter Seven - When Dark Clouds Become Rainbows
Chapter Eight - Embracing Explosive Expansion
Chapter Nine - Total Surrender

The Surrender Experiment Summary Notes

Here are some detailed summary notes and key principles from the book:

1. Surrender is not about giving up control

Michael Singer explores the concept of surrender and how it can lead to a life of greater ease, flow, and fulfillment. He shares his personal journey of how he stumbled upon surrender as a way of life and how it transformed his life in unexpected ways.

Singer explains that surrender is not about giving up or becoming passive, but rather about letting go of our resistance to what is and allowing life to unfold naturally. He emphasizes that when we let go of our mental chatter and surrender to the present moment, we open ourselves up to new possibilities and experiences that we might have otherwise missed.

He also points out that surrender is not a one-time event, but rather a continuous practice that requires us to let go of our fears, judgments, and attachments on a moment-to-moment basis. He suggests that the more we surrender, the more we cultivate a state of inner peace and harmony, which in turn attracts more positive experiences and opportunities into our lives.

Singer's personal story of surrendering to life's challenges and opportunities is a powerful example of how surrender can lead to unexpected growth and success. He shares how he let go of his own plans and desires and instead followed the opportunities that life presented to him, leading to the creation of a successful software company and a life of greater meaning and purpose. As Singer writes, "When we let go of our own desires and simply allow life to unfold, we are always guided to where we need to be." This is a lesson that we can all benefit from, regardless of where we are on our own life journey.

2. Following the guidance of our inner voice

Singer's journey began when he was a young man who was struggling to find his place in the world. He had dropped out of college and was living in a small cabin in the woods, trying to find meaning in his life.

At this point in the story, Singer introduces us to a concept that he calls the "inner voice." This is the voice that we all have inside of us, which is constantly speaking to us and telling us what we should do. Singer explains that in order to hear this voice, we must learn to quiet our minds and listen to the silence. It is only in this state of deep inner listening that we can truly hear the guidance of our inner voice.

As Singer began to practice this form of deep inner listening, he started to experience a series of synchronistic events that led him down an unexpected path. He found himself drawn to a spiritual community in Florida, where he quickly became an integral part of the community. Singer explains that his ability to surrender to the events that were unfolding in his life allowed him to experience a level of success and fulfillment that he never could have imagined.

3. Trusting in the universe

Singer's journey took him to Gainesville, Florida, where he started a software company with a group of friends. This was a significant departure from his spiritual pursuits, but Singer was committed to surrendering to the opportunities that life presented him with.

Singer learned that the key to building a successful business was not to force things to happen, but rather to allow the business to unfold in its own way. He and his partners took a step back and let the business develop organically, without trying to control every aspect of it. This approach allowed the business to grow at its own pace, and it ultimately became a highly successful enterprise.

A key lesson is the importance of trusting in the universe and having faith that everything will work out in the end. Singer and his partners faced numerous challenges along the way, but they never lost faith that their business would succeed. They surrendered to the obstacles and trusted that they were being guided towards a successful outcome.

4. Letting go of our expectations and attachments

Singer also explores the concept of surrender as it relates to relationships. Singer shares his experiences with romantic relationships and how surrendering to the flow of life can lead to greater fulfillment and happiness.

One of his main points is that surrendering to relationships means letting go of our expectations and attachments. Singer explains that when we become attached to a particular outcome or idea of what our relationship should be, we create tension and resistance. By letting go of these expectations and surrendering to the flow of the relationship, we can experience greater harmony and joy.

Singer also emphasizes the importance of being present in our relationships and fully experiencing each moment. This presence requires us to let go of our thoughts and judgments and to be fully immersed in the moment.

Another key point is the idea that surrendering to relationships means being willing to let go when it is time to move on. Singer shares the story of his divorce and how he had to surrender to the pain and sadness of that experience. He explains that letting go allowed him to open himself up to new possibilities and ultimately led him to his current wife.

5. Letting go of resistance

By surrendering to our thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, we can develop a deeper understanding of ourselves and experience greater inner peace.

Singer shares the story of his own journey of self-discovery, which began with a period of intense meditation and self-reflection. He explains that during this time, he learned to surrender to his thoughts and emotions and to observe them without judgment or attachment. This allowed him to gain insight into his own patterns of behavior and to let go of limiting beliefs and fears.

Surrendering to our inner experience means letting go of resistance and allowing ourselves to feel fully. It means being willing to face our fears and shadows. By doing so, we can transform them and develop greater self-awareness and acceptance.

Singer emphasizes the importance of cultivating a sense of detachment from our thoughts and emotions. He explains that when we become too attached to our inner experience, we can become overwhelmed and lose perspective. By surrendering to our inner experience and observing it without attachment, we can develop a sense of distance and objectivity.

6. Surrendering to our work

Surrendering to our work means being open to new opportunities and allowing our careers to unfold naturally. This trust in the unfolding of our career path can help us to find greater fulfillment and purpose in our work.

Singer also emphasizes the importance of doing our work with love and devotion. He explains that when we approach our work with a sense of purpose and devotion, we can experience a deep sense of satisfaction and joy.

Surrendering to our work also means being willing to take risks and face challenges. Singer shares the story of his decision to leave a stable job in order to pursue his passion for spiritual teaching. He explains that this decision was not without risk and uncertainty, but by surrendering to the process, he was able to find success and fulfillment.

7. Letting go of our Ego

Surrendering to spiritual growth means letting go of our ego and our attachment to the material world. It also means being open to the guidance of spiritual teachers and the wisdom of ancient traditions. Singer shares the story of his own journey and how surrendering to the guidance of his spiritual teacher helped him to deepen his spiritual practice.

Singer also emphasizes the importance of surrendering to the spiritual lessons that life presents. He explains that by surrendering to these lessons, we can learn important truths about ourselves and the universe.

What is the main message of The Surrender Experiment?

The main message of this book is that surrendering to the flow of life can lead to incredible opportunities and growth, even when things don't go as planned. Throughout the book, Michael Singer shares his own experiences of surrendering to life's twists and turns, from starting a meditation center to running a multi-million dollar software company. Singer encourages readers to let go of their attachment to outcomes and trust that the universe has a plan for them. He argues that trying to control every aspect of our lives can lead to stress and missed opportunities, while surrendering to the present moment can lead to unexpected blessings.

How did Michael Singer come to embrace the philosophy of surrender?

It wasn't always a bed of roses for Singer. He had his ups and downs, just like anyone else. In fact, in his early age he found himself feeling unfulfilled and disconnected from the world around him. It wasn't until he practiced meditation that he realized the power of surrender. At first, he struggled with the idea of letting go of control and just allowing life to happen. But, as he continued to surrender to the flow of life, he found that things began to fall into place effortlessly. He realized that he didn't need to fight the world around him, but rather trust that everything was happening for a reason.

How did the experiment affect Michael Singer's personal relationships?

For one thing, Singer's experiment caused him to prioritize surrender over his own desires, even when it came to his loved ones. He talks about how he had to let go of his own agenda and allow things to unfold naturally, which sometimes meant putting other people's needs before his own. And while it wasn't always easy, he found that surrendering in this way brought him closer to the people around him and created a deeper sense of connection.

But it wasn't just about putting others first. The experiment also challenged Singer's relationships with himself. As he surrendered more and more, he had to let go of his own self-image and embrace the unknown. This required a lot of trust and faith, but it ultimately allowed him to live a more authentic and fulfilling life.

What are some examples of situations where Michael Singer had to practice surrender in the book?

Michael Singer had to practice surrender in some pretty gnarly situations during his experiment. For example, he had to deal with government officials trying to take his land, and he had to surrender to their demands. But that wasn't the end of it, oh no! He also had to surrender to unexpected business opportunities that came his way, even if they didn't align with his original plans.

What role did meditation and mindfulness play in Michael Singer's surrender experiment?

Meditation and mindfulness helped him stay present in the moment, instead of getting caught up in his thoughts and emotions. They were like a muscle for him. The more he used them, the stronger they got. Michael Singer had been flexing that muscle for years before he started his surrender experiment. It gave him the ability to observe his thoughts and feelings without getting too caught up in them.

What impact did the experiment have on Michael Singer's career and success?

Michael Singer's surrender experiment had a major impact on his career and success. By surrendering, Singer was able to let go of his own limited beliefs and let the universe bring him opportunities he never could have imagined. He founded a successful tech company and even became an author, all thanks to his surrender experiment.

Singer didn't just become successful for his own benefit. He used his success to help others and make a positive impact on the world. Talk about a win-win...

How does the book address the relationship between surrender and free will?

When we talk about surrender and free will, we're really exploring one of the biggest philosophical debates of all time. On one hand, we've got this idea of free will, that we're in control of our own lives and make our own choices. And then on the other hand, there's the concept of surrender, which suggests that we should let go and allow things to unfold naturally. So, which is it? Can we have both?

Well, in "The Surrender Experiment," Michael Singer seems to suggest that we can. By surrendering to the flow of life, we're not necessarily giving up our free will, but rather, we're allowing ourselves to be guided by a higher power. It's like we're co-creating our lives with the universe, rather than trying to control everything ourselves.

But at the end of the day, maybe it's not about choosing one or the other, but rather finding a balance between surrender and free will that works for each of us individually.

What key lesson can readers take away from The Surrender Experiment for their own lives and experiences?

One of the biggest takeaways from the book, in my opinion, is the idea that surrendering to what life presents you can actually lead to greater success and happiness than trying to control everything. Michael Singer's experiment really showed how surrendering to the present moment and trusting in the universe can lead to amazing opportunities and experiences that you might never have imagined for yourself.

What are some good quotes from The Surrender Experiment?

“Do whatever is put in front of you with all your heart and soul without regard for personal results. Do the work as though it were given to you by the universe itself - because it was.”

"Challenging situations create the force needed to bring about change. The problem is that we generally use all the stirred-up energy intended to bring about change, to resist change." (Meaning)

― Michael A. Singer - The Surrender Experiment Quotes

What do critics say?

Here's what one of the prominent reviewers had to say about the book: “Only the rarest of books has the power to clearly explain the difference between a human being and a human doing, and why that distinction is so important. The Surrender Experiment is such a book. Inspiring, authentic, and intensely compelling.” —Dean Radin, author of The Conscious Universe.

* The summary points above have been summarized from the book and other public sources. The editor of this summary review made every effort to maintain information accuracy, including the published quotes, book chapters, and key takeaways.

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Chief Editor

Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.

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