The law of detachment: What it is and how to use it to benefit your life

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Have you heard of the law of detachment?

If not, I’d love to introduce you to the concept and how to use it to find success and fulfillment in your life.

I’ve begun tapping into this law in the past several years and have experienced tremendous results. 

But don’t just take my word for it, read on and find out why.

Let’s start with the fundamentals:

What is the law of detachment?

The law of detachment is about empowering yourself by putting your full effort into your goals while fully detaching your well-being and expectations from the outcome. 

This powerful law is all about letting life work for you. 

Instead of chasing results, you put in the work and embrace what comes, learning from mixed results and using success to build even stronger progress. 

The law of detachment is powerful, and it’s often misunderstood as passivity or just “going with the flow.”

It’s actually not that at all, which I will explain a bit later. 

As leadership mentor Nathalie Virem explains:

“The Law of Detachment says that we must detach ourselves from the result or outcome in order to allow what we desire to materialize in the physical universe.”

10 key ways to use the law of detachment to benefit your life

The law of detachment is all about embracing reality and becoming empowered by it instead of victimized. 

Many things in life do not go the way we hope or work towards. 

But using this law you can ensure that many more things go your way and that those which do not are still useful and lead to something you actually want. 

1) Embrace the unknown

Life has no guaranteed outcome except physical death. 

Starting with that brutal reality, let’s look at the bright side:

We all end up in the same place, at least physically, and we’re all more or less faced with the same ultimate situation. 

No matter how much we try to hide from it, we’re not ultimately in control and what happens in life is unknown except that one day it will stop. 

We’re here on this spinning rock and we don’t know what will happen and sometimes that’s more than a little scary!

Been there, got the t-shirt…

But in that unknown of what will happen in your life and how long it might last, you also have an enormous potential.

The potential is to embrace what you can control, which is, potentially, yourself

This is what the law of detachment is all about:

Building a rock-solid relationship with yourself and your own self-worth and way of living life, instead of forming a relationship of expectation and reliance on outer events happening. 

The law of detachment is 100% about untying your sense of self, happiness, and life meaning from what happens in your life. 

You may be very happy, sad, confused, or satisfied, but your sense of who you are and your own value doesn’t shift in any way. 

You also begin to approach life in a different way from many others around you. 

Which brings me to point two:

2) Be proactive not reactive

Many people try very hard in life and try to have a positive attitude.

This is often encouraged by various religious and spiritual movements, including the New Age teachings around having “high vibrations” and chakras and all of that. 

The problem is that this creates exactly the kind of simplistic good versus bad duality that so often traps us in guilt and over-analysis. 

You need to be yourself, and sometimes that will mean you need to be a bit of a damn mess. 

In general, you want to be approaching life with a can-do attitude that focuses on possibilities and action rather than analysis and overthinking. 

You also want to be proactive and be open to possibilities and developments instead of having a set idea of how things have to turn out. 

This means as your life unfolds from work to relationships to your own well-being and goals, you put one foot in front of the other and adjust course as it comes. 

But you aren’t reactive in the sense of being impulsive or suddenly just switching everything you planned to do.

Instead, you work with changes and frustrations that come your way instead of denying them or reacting immediately to them.

3) Work hard, but work smart

A big part of the law of detachment is working hard and also working smart.

You must work on becoming very perceptive of how your actions influence the world around you and reflect and deflect back. 

What’s working and what’s not?

Sometimes a small adjustment to the way you date, diet, work or live can make a much bigger difference than dramatic changes. 

It’s all in the specificity.

When it comes to work and professional goals, for example, there may be 99 out of 100 things you are doing optimally but one small thing you’ve overlooked that’s sinking your endeavors…

Or in love, you may actually be doing much better than you realize but be exhausted by past frustrations and not realize how close you are to meeting the love of your life. 

Remaining detached means that you stop trying to meet the love of your life or land your dream job and start allowing it to happen however it’s going to happen.

4) Hold your worth internally 

The law of detachment requires you to hold your worth internally rather than basing it on externals. 

Many things in life are out of our control and depending on them for our satisfaction or for our own sense of self is highly dangerous.

Nonetheless, many of us do that, and even the most confident person occasionally falls into this trap…

What trap am I talking about?

It’s the trap of seeking validation externally:

From other people, from romantic partners, from work bosses, from members of society, from ideological or spiritual groups, from our own health or status…

It’s the trap of basing our worth on what some other person, system or situation tells us our worth is. 

Because the truth is that this is always in flux.

What’s more is that it can also work the other way around as well:

Imagine person after person telling you you’re amazing and attractive and competent but not believing it yourself?

What good does it do you?

5) Always learn from new ideas

The law of detachment is all about learning. 

As you detach from outcome, you open yourself up to a huge amount of learning opportunities. 

Whether it’s love, work, your own health or your spiritual journey, life will offer you numerous chances to see things from new perspectives and be challenged. 

If you try to do end runs around these opportunities and control outcomes or only focus on an outcome, you end up losing out on a lot you could have learned. 

There’s a great example of how failing can actually lead to success: 

The basketball icon Michael Jordan famously said that he only became a pro because he was willing to fail over and over until he learned and improved and became better. 

It’s the same with the law of detachment. You need to stop focusing on what you want at the end and start focusing on what the present – including its failures – can teach you right now. 

6) Never try to own the process

In order to be open to learning that comes, it’s key to allow the process to take priority over your own ego.

Many times when we want certain things or hope for certain outcomes, our ego gets tied up in it:

“If I don’t get this guy it means I’m not good enough…”

“If this job falls through in the end it’ll prove that I was always basically stupid.”

“My leadership of this company is a measure of my worth as a leader and role model in life.”

And so on…

We associate our worth and our value with what happens in pursuit of our goals.

In so doing, we demand to own the process. 

But the problem is that nobody can own what happens because there are simply far too many variables out of our control. 

Let things happen the way they will and adjust your sails when necessary.

7) Collaborate and cooperate 

Part of stepping back from trying to own the process is collaborating and cooperating. 

Many times we get very attached to an outcome and want to control everything, including who is involved in making our dreams come true. 

We want to be a casting director for life, deciding who gets to play a role or not as the story unfolds. 

But things don’t work that way.

Many people will step in and influence the path of your dreams and life in ways you don’t expect, including people you sometimes dislike or who cause serious issues to your plans. 

The law of detachment says to minimize your resistance to those who come. 

If they are actively working against you, absolutely make a stand. 

But if you meet somebody interesting who has new ideas about a project or relationship, why not hear them out?

This could be the solution you’ve been searching for.

8) Be open-minded about success

What does success mean? 

Does it mean being happy, getting rich, having the admiration of others? 

Maybe in some part. 

Or does it mean being physically and mentally healthy and happy on your own?

This also seems valid in many cases!

Success can come in many forms. Some would say that being a positive presence in even one other person’s life is a form of success. 

For this reason, the law of detachment asks you to stop back from any ironclad definition of success. 

Do your best every day, but don’t try to trademark what success is for all time and eternity. 

The definition may vary and even change with time!

9) Let roadblocks be detours not dead-ends

Roadblocks can often seem like the end of the road. 

But what if you were to consider them as detours instead?

This opens up a world of possibilities.

To use a video game example, think of the difference between a closed and open world. 

In the former, you can only go where designers have decided, and cutscenes get triggered every few minutes. 

In the latter, it’s more of a choose-your-own-adventure and you can roam the world as you will, exploring and discovering new things every time you venture forth. 

Let it be like this in life and with the law of detachment:

Go open world. 

When you hit a roadblock, take a detour instead of giving up or turning right back around.

10) Leave ‘should’ behind in the dust

Life should be many things. Bad things shouldn’t happen, and the world should be a better place. 

But when you treat your own life this way and embrace should, you end up disempowering and disillusioning yourself. 

You also end up being victimized over and over. 

Life doesn’t work on what should be, nor does it even line up always with what you work towards. 

The law of detachment is all about allowing things to be what they are instead of clinging to rigid definitions of what they should be. 

You have your goals and your vision, but you don’t impose it over existing reality. 

You “roll with the punches and get to what’s real,” as Van Halen sang.

The law of detachment is about being adaptable and strong, and taking life’s surprises and frustrations as they come. 

In the end, it’s the best any of us can do. And any attempt to cling on to should just increase your suffering anyway, in addition to increasing the chances that you give up when a few things don’t turn out how you’d hoped.

Instead, by embracing the power of “let it be,” you allow yourself to recognize many opportunities you might not have noticed before.

And you become much more fulfilled and empowered. 

Detachment is not indifference!

Detachment doesn’t mean you are indifferent. 

It means you are not identified with the outcome, nor are you banking on it. 

Of course, you want to get the job, get rich, get the girl and experience the life of your dreams. 

But you are also honestly content with embracing the struggle as well and not setting your sense of well-being in a future goal or outcome. 

You want it but you are not dependent on it in any way. 

If you fail to succeed in your latest goal you immediately accept it after a brief feeling of frustration and disappointment and then immediately adjust course. 

You are not lessened in any way, nor is your value or fulfillment damped down in any way. 

In fact, you’re more determined and inspired than ever and you know that any temporary setbacks are just new ways to learn and grow. 

Detachment doesn’t mean you’re always happy or having a thumbs up. 

It means you are living life as it comes, doing your best and holding your worth internally instead of in external things (including relationships). 

Living with maximum results and minimum ego

The law of attachment is all about living with maximum results and minimum ego. 

It’s something that Hack Spirit founder Lachlan Brown wrote about in his recent book Hidden Secrets of Buddhism That Turned My Life Around

I’ve read this book and let me tell you it’s not the typical New Age fluff. 

Lachlan gets into the gritty details of his search for fulfillment and how he went from unloading crates in a warehouse to being married to the love of his life and running one of the world’s most popular self-development websites. 

He introduced me to a lot of ideas and hands-on exercises that I’ve found extremely helpful and groundbreaking in my daily life. 

The key of living with maximum impact and minimum ego is about putting the law of detachment to work for you. 

It’s something the Buddha taught about in his life and it’s a principle we can apply every day in our own lives, with amazing results. 

Making the law of detachment work for you

Making the law of detachment work for you is all about going to the next level. 

What I’m suggesting is to detach from the law of detachment. 

This means just do it. 

Zero expectations, zero belief, zero analysis. 

Just try it. 

The law of detachment is all about how you live your life, go about achieving your goals and work through and experience your relationship with yourself. 

As you detach from any specific outcome, you become invested purely in what you are doing and begin to achieve outcomes you never even thought possible. 

This is because you’re no longer dwelling on the future or past. 

Your sense of self-worth and identity is no longer reliant on a future outcome or a “what if.”

You’re here, in this moment, working, loving and living to the best of your ability, and that’s just fine!

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