The brief occurrence of summer last week here in Central PA, USA was a terrible tease! I was fine with it being semi-cold here since you kind of get used to it but when you are presented with 10 glorious days of 65-70 degree weather, weather that begs to be enjoyed, you tend to be quite depressed when winter sneaks back up and says “Haha, gotcha! I won’t be forgotten that easily.” Whatever winter, spring will show you who’s boss soon enough!
Funny story, I decided, during one of those awesome weather days last week, to walk to my French class (my campus is big enough that I generally take a bus from my “grad office”). This was a great idea, or so I thought, a 20ish minute walk in gorgeous weather just made me super spacey in class. My French professor would ask questions and I would find myself drifting off, staring at the ceiling. It was sad, I am usually so attentive in that class (you kind of have to be to understand a different language!).
Completely different topic: I have been thinking a lot about what matters in life…pretty deep, right? Well I know things like family matter, that you live as a good person (in whatever realm of “good” you choose to be) and what not. As I mentioned last week I have also been thinking a bit about what I want for my future, what matters to me when I look back at my education, my 20’s and I want to start focusing on those things that matter to me. Family, close friends and relationships, adventure and memories of a life well lived. To do some of this I need to make an effort to go with the flow. I have recently downloaded the book: Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance.
I haven’t gotten into it much yet and I haven’t been a huge reader of self-help books but I think it would be nice to get another perspective on things. The things that I am “planning / unplanning” in my life at the moment send me into the craziest uncertain scary exciting exhilarating awesome uncomfortable uneasy…(the list goes on) thought processes and I realize that there is everything out there for me to experience but since I am a planner I need to become okay with only having a “short / medium” term plan for the moment.
- What is your worst case scenario…write it down, see it for what it actually is, probably not so bad.
“””Fear of failure and going to zero. In giving up the regular income, the fear of losing everything is acute. Even after saving up a safety net, doing the sums on how much time I have before the well runs dry and having a supportive husband, I am afraid of ending up with nothing. But this doomsday scenario thinking is crazy and I know that. In the book, Jonathan recommends naming the monster and writing it all out. For me, the worst case scenario is that I get another job in 6 months if this doesn’t work out. I will not be starving on the streets. I will just be embarrassed in front of you guys. I can’t let that fear of failure stop me from trying in the first place, and neither can you.”””
- Uncertainty is actually the normal thing.
“””Like it or not, though, uncertainty is the new normal. We live in a time where the world is in a state of constant, long-term flux. And, that’s not all. If you want to spend your time on the planet not just getting-by, but consistently creating art, experiences, businesses and lives that truly matter, you’ll need to proactively seek out, invite and even deliberately amplify uncertainty. Because the other side of uncertainty is opportunity.”””
- killing the butterflies = killing the dream … to me this means, stay excited about life. don’t get complacent. seek out the scary/uncomfortable/exhilarating moments/scenarios/opportunities to live a happy, successful, full life.
What is the main message you hope readers take from this book?
Kill the butterflies, you kill the dream. Uncertainty has to be present in the quest to create great art, businesses, and lives. That makes us feel uncomfortable. But the answer isn’t to back away until the feeling eases. Rather, it’s to learn how to experience the feeling differently. To train in the alchemy of fear and harness it as fuel for brilliance.
You’ve said that “Uncertainty is a signpost that what you’re doing matters.” Can you expand on this?
The only way we can have even a moderate level of certainty about an endeavor before we begin it is if either we’ve done it before or someone else has. At which point, we’re no longer creating something cool, we’re replicating something that’s already been done. And that’s not why we’re here. We’re here to do things that matter. To us, and to the world around us.
That means making choices and taking action when we don’t have perfect information, when we don’t know how it’s going to turn out. When we’re uncertain. In that sense, then, uncertainty, at least in the earlier stages of any great adventure, is a signpost that what you’re looking to bring to life matters. That it’s not derivative. That’s not a guarantee that it’ll work, but at least the quest will be fueled by meaning, rather than mimicry.
We all get so settled into every day and think that this is just the way things are supposed to be. I will once again use my mind wandering Wednesday to say that I am actively trying to step away from my current state of “drifting through life” and “going through the motions”. Again, I want to be excited about life again and delving into the unknown, the uncertain and scary is just what I need. Between you and me the first step of this, at this moment, is the possibility of an internship in Marseille, France in the near future, but that’s another story, related but still in the midst of being written…
thanks for letting me share my thoughts and “un”plans 🙂