I saw singer/songwriter Jordan Page play at a house concert in Tennessee last night. He told us a story (which I think he’d be fine with me relaying here) of how, earlier in his career, he had been playing at a bar and in between songs was telling the audience how they needed to take control of their fears. Afterward some woman came up to him and told him he was wrong. At first Jordan was angry at her, but she explained that you don’t “take control” or “master” your fears. Instead you surrender and acknowledge that you can’t control the world. Jordan said that at first he resisted this–nobody likes being corrected–but his barriers melted away when he realized she was right.
In a more specifically Christian context, this is quite standard advice. (You can see how many examples there are of Christian websites talking about surrendering to the will of God, and how this ironically gives freedom.) Psalm 37:7 says:
Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
However, other spiritual traditions have similar notions, with Buddhism being an obvious example.
I don’t even need to make this spiritual at all; I want to make sure the atheist/agnostic readers don’t get all hung up on the metaphysics for the moment. Whether you’re trying to hit a tee shot, sing a song, or get a date for the prom, if you overanalyze it and “try really hard” to get things to work out right, it blows up in your face. If instead you relax, don’t try to “control” the situation, let things unfold naturally, and don’t micromanage every detail, what happens “naturally” is going to be the best outcome.