“Clarity doesn’t always mean you know exactly what you’re doing…It does mean you know exactly who you’re being and why.”
— Christine Kane
No matter how many times you venture out to do something new, there is going to be the risky and scary proposition that it won’t work. In the back of our minds, there is the very nagging and unsettling question, “How do I know?” How do I know the next book I write isn’t going to be a complete flop? How do I know that I am moving in the right direction? How do I know I am dating the right person? How do I know I am doing the best I can at work or in school?
But still, even with that “How do I know?” lingering in our minds, some of us, at least, go on anyway. In spite of our fears, concerns, and reservations, in spite of the anxiety that it might not work, some of us fight through because there is at all times, the strong possibility that whatever it is we are attempting to do just might work. The result might be everything we expected, even more. And if it were anything less, well, then, the attempt was still worth it.
Right now, I’m in the tedious, daunting, and exciting process of applying to graduate school. It’s a lot of paperwork, a lot of I dotting and T crossing, and a lot of waiting. Every step of the process has me asking this same question, “How do I know?” How do I know that my essays are good enough? How do I know my application will even make the cut? How do I know I’ll be accepted to the right school? And so on and so on the anxious wonderment goes.
We all experience these moments in which we don’t know what’s going to happen. The future is all unknown no matter how much we plan for it. But the uncertainty and the not knowing is such a good thing. Honestly, we don’t know if anything will really work. But we’ll never know if it won’t unless we try. You can’t know whether your book is going to sell, but thousands of books still roll of the printing press and are stocked on book shelves for the great possibility that they just might sell.
You don’t know whether your business is going to be successful, but people start different businesses every single year. You don’t know whether your idea is going to be so brilliant that it works, but you implement your idea anyway and see where it takes you. Clarity is never on the road to your dreams. Sometimes you have to stick your neck out there, hold on to faith, make progress, and grow.
You’ll never have enough clarity before you start or even while you’re in it. But not knowing is all the reason you need to take action. Strangely, it is in the uncertainty and the not knowing that we find some good reason to carry on. When we don’t know, we open ourselves up to the grand possibility that perhaps something or someone much bigger and more powerful than ourselves is waiting to assist in our endeavor. We have to learn to trust God and to rely on the good will of others to help us make progress one step at a time on our journey.
Someone once said that you can’t turn an 18-wheeler unless it’s moving. Life is a lot like that. If we just keep moving, sooner or later, it will all work out. We’ll get to where we want to go. Not because we followed an exact blueprint or made all the right choices and took all the proper steps, but because we kept moving forward in any direction. Life becomes clearer to us the more we live it. Our goals become more real to us the more we pursue them. The destination is made visible the more we keep traveling.
Take a little comfort in knowing that there are many things you simply won’t know. But if you just keep moving, you’ll eventually find out. Ask the right questions, consult the right people, seek guidance from God, and take hold of opportunities that cross your path. You’ll get it right. Everyone who is moving in some direction eventually does. Most people are too afraid to move in any direction at all so they stand still and stay stuck in their comfort zone. Just keep moving even if you’re not sure. It’s better to move than rotate in circles.
Clarity hides itself from those who fear to take the first step. But you know you’re headed in some direction that you’re meant to move into when you do what everyone else is too afraid to do. Move forward. And keep moving forward. Every step you take may be wrought with some strange difficulty or obstacle. But that doesn’t matter because as you move you find the path being cleared before you. Take the first step, and then the next one, and then the next one. Travel on, warrior. And realize your goals are not only real; they are possible.
“Mystification is simple; clarity is the hardest thing of all.”
— Julian Barnes