If you want to get to where you want to go you have to stop protecting yourself from the unknown.
It’s scary, I know.
But that’s just the physics of life itself. It’s so constructed that it asks us to embrace that which we can’t understand fully unless we go into the place that reveals it to us.
It’s like one of those popular escape rooms. You have to go in if you want to get out.
Here’s 3 ways of thinking about the unknown that might assist you in not being so overwhelmed in taking the leap.
1. Ultimately, the deeper truth of all existence is unknowable. I just got back from a trip to Japan, and as I was walking around ancient temples built almost 1,000 years ago, it reminded me of how vast existence is. When we travel to other places and experience other cultures or even get glimpses of ancient civilizations in a modern context, it’s very difficult to apply my western belief systems on an entirely different set of people and circumstances. They don’t apply. Yes, humanity is universal, but the constructs I may use to define my life aren’t the same for someone else, and they might be shot to shit when I realize that life itself is bigger than the way I want to see my world. The lyrics to The xx’s song “On Hold” illustrate this:
My young heart chose to believe
We were destined
All need love
Call it a lesson
The stars and the charts
And the cards make sense
Only when we want them to.
We want to see our world in a way that’s controllable and known to us, so we interpret it the way that “makes sense.” To give that up is scary. But it’s also freeing(!) to move way beyond how you see your world on a day-to- day basis. Which ultimately might help you see it’s actually very limiting.
2. Everything you want is in the unknown. If you think about your life and everything you accomplished to get where you are, it required you to take the leap. You got on a bus, you made a phone call, you booked the trip, you emailed the agent, you said “yes” to something you didn’t have the answer to, you went on the ride. It’s just scary to trust that taking the leap has got your back. It does. A higher level of understanding or experience comes from it. But if you don’t take the leap you hold on to all the reasons why you don’t take the leap, which then becomes a self-fulfilling circle of entrapment. You can’t hold onto your limitations and let go at the same time.
3. All great art comes from the unknown. That’s the ethos of the studio. Live in the unknown in your work and something magical happens. Director Mike Nichols said, “Not naming something, not deciding what to do, being brave and going out empty is the only way. And it’s both terrifying and thrilling (and it applies to directing too).”
It applies to everything.
Live purposefully in the creative principle of the unknown. All expressions of art require us to let go of the ideas to leap into something much more mysterious and exciting and powerful. To do that is to truly live.
Let’s all really live in 2017.