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.

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.

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.

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

What is a good quote 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.” ― The Surrender Experiment Quotes, Michael A. Singer

Is The Surrender Experiment worth reading?

We give the book a thumbs up. 👍

Here's what one of the book reviewers had to say about The Surrender Experiment: “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.

Chief Editor

Tal Gur is an impact-driven entrepreneur, author, and investor. 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 - 1 Man, 10 Years, 100 Life Goals Around the World, has led him to found Elevate Society.

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