We like certainty.
When we try something new, we want to know exactly what to expect.
How long will it take?
When will I be good at this?
Where will the challenges be?
I won’t look stupid in front of other people, right?
We want a clear path, but we don’t usually get one. The new and exciting experiences that make life interesting and vibrant involve some degree of risk and uncertainty.
That’s probably a good thing, really. If we could foresee all the future difficulties and frustrations that come with each new experience in life, we’d be paralyzed.
Focus On the Next Step
[I promise I’m going to stop using hiking metaphors soon . . . but not yet. One more and then I’ll stop for a while. Promise!]
The first time Sarah and I went hiking after moving to Albuquerque, the two of us and a friend took a tram to the top of Sandia Crest at 10,678 feet and hiked down. It was a misty morning, and the trail was so foggy at the top that we couldn’t see more than 20 feet in front of us. Because we could only see far enough to walk the trail, we had no idea how high up we were.
We hiked the same trail again a few weeks later, and we couldn’t believe how steep the trail was in places. The grey mist we had seen the first time had been hiding sheer drops, sometimes for hundreds of feet.
The grey mist wasn’t just foggy nothingness. It was really this:
If we had been able to see the danger, that first hike would have been a lot scarier. I’m not sure we would have gone through with it, to be honest. We might have been on the first tram back down the mountain.
The downside of having a clear path in front of us is that all the dangers and risks are laid bare. The fear of fear is worse than the fear itself, and it’s better not to see everything coming.
That thing we’ve been thinking about doing? Today’s the day to start. Not tomorrow, not next week.
The future will never be perfectly clear, and that’s a good thing. Start down the path today.