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Knowing What to Do Is Secondary

Knowing what to do isn’t necessarily a better situation to be in. It could be a symptom that you’re too comfortable with the familiar, that you’ve organized your life around routines and relationships that don’t challenge you anymore. And if that’s the case, perhaps you’re better off seeking a situation where you don’t know what to do.

“I don’t know what to do” is a statement that deserves credit for its honesty, but it’s not an excuse for hiding.

Being a person of vision isn’t about having a clear set of guidelines and guarantees for every important scenario. It’s about being committed to your principles even if you’re unsure about where that leads or even if you’re unclear about how to make the proper adjustments.

Sometimes you get the luxury of finding an answer, but not always. Sometimes you have to step up and create your own road map.

The most rewarding decisions often come with a responsibility to improvise.

You’re Always Ready to Begin Where You Are

Photo by _willpower_

“Readiness” is nothing more than the combination of willingness, honesty, and deliberate practice.

It’s the willingness to step up and give your best effort even if it’s not equal to someone else’s best.

It’s the honesty to share what you have to offer without feeling the need to overpromise on a bunch of things you know you can’t deliver.

It’s the commitment to treating every performance as an opportunity to get feedback on how you can improve the quality of your practice.

Readiness is never absolute. At every moment, you’re ready for some things and unready for others. But you always have a level of readiness that you can act on.

When you do what you’re ready to do right now, you acquire experiences that make you ready to do the things that are out of your league.

Respecting current readiness expands future readiness.

The readiness to handle what happens in the middle comes from respecting your readiness to start at the beginning.

What’s Next?

Presumptuous negativity comes from the same source as Pollyanna positivity: A failure of imagination.

When our sense of possibility is diminished, we compensate by placing blind faith in our negative assumptions or by convincing ourselves that we need to make positive ones.

Instead of placing blind faith in your negative assumptions or forcing yourself to believe positive assumptions, try making zero assumptions.

It doesn’t matter if your conclusions are positive or negative if you’re jumping to them. The key is remembering not to jump at all.

Sometimes it’s simply enough to be open to what’s next.

The Permission to Go Small

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Take a brief moment and think about something that’s really interesting to you.

Be specific.

Instead of picking something general like “life”, think about some specific aspect of life that intrigues you.

Got an example?

Here’s the bad news and the good news about your example:

The bad news is that there are probably millions of people who think you picked an uninteresting answer.

The good news is that you don’t need any of those people to find your answering interesting in order to do interesting things that are inspired by that interest.

Run this exercise for your favorite movie, book, celebrity, or politician. If you do a little research, you’ll easily find millions of people who either feel hate or indifference towards any example you pick. That’s a comforting thing to know.  We have a lot more room than we think to be uninteresting and irrelevant to people.

“Making a difference” doesn’t have to mean “making a difference to the majority of people in the world.”

What would you create if you gave yourself permission to only satisfy a small audience?

The Credit Is All Yours

This is the screenshot of a tweet I woke up to this morning.

My talk at the event she refers to had nothing to do with making videos and creating cosplay content. I don’t know how to do either of those things. It was about learning to become the predominant creative force in your own life. Mackenzie took that message and ran with it in the way that works best for her. I couldn’t have taught her to apply those insights in this particular way. She had to do the work of going within and finding her own internal compass.

While I’m truly grateful for every single moment in which someone expresses appreciation for a positive role I’ve played in their lives, her post illustrates a belief I hold deeply about all advice: The radical and the revolutionary is rarely to be found in the advice we give.

The world doesn’t change because of gurus as much as it much as it changes because of people who have the guts to go their own way.

It’s much easier to be someone who walks around confidently sharing your opinions on life than it is to be someone like Mackenzie who chooses to face her fears and define her own possibilities.

Please don’t mistake this for self-deprecation, but I sincerely believe that if I hadn’t shown up to speak that day, she would have found another way to give herself permission to be free. That’s how it works. No one can make you free in spite of yourself. And no one can stop you from finding out what you need to know once you “get sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

We might prefer to listen to one person’s style over another’s, but the information we need to transform ourselves is already out there. When we’re ready to confront our demons and open our hearts to change, life will use even the clumsiest of characters to help us remember what our conscience has already been telling us.

Mackenzie, it feels good to have a moment where someone shows appreciation for the work you do. However, I’d like to use my moment to reflect it all back to you. Just as the change was yours for the making, the credit is yours for the taking.

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