On Advice, Uncertainty, Taking Action and Going Against The Grain

(Author’s note: I’ve decided to try something new – a stream of consciousness post on a topic that seems relevant to me and wherever I may be at. This is all about the tension and stress one feels when faced with a tough decision in which, on the one hand, the choice is difficult because much may be at stake and what one feels deep down is a strong conviction of the “scary” or “against the grain” choice being the right way to go, but on the other hand, the safe choice feels wrong. This stream of consciousness explores the tension and fear, and attempts to distinguish between advice and knowing what is right for oneself. If you like this type of post, let me know and perhaps I will do more of them.)

What does everyone tell you to do?

What do you actually do?

Do you do what they say, or do you do the opposite?

Do you find success?

If you’re in a place where you’re wondering what action to take, probably you’re not. Which is probably why you’re looking for advice (or being given unsolicited advice) in the first place.

Or, perhaps you are finding success, but you are at a crossroads.

Or, even, perhaps you are finding success, but people always want to give advice.

Well, advice is always subjective. Advice is always some form of personal projection onto another’s situation. Advice doesn’t always match.

We know deep down what is the right path forward. But we don’t take it right away. Why?

Fear, probably.

It’s normal. It’s human. We have this built into us. It’s natural. It may feel like it’s a life or death situation. But, it’s not. Life will go on, no matter which path you take. If you’re afraid of doing what you know in your body is right for you, there are probably other things at stake. It may not be a life or death situation, but the pain of possibly failure or loss associated if it doesn’t go rightly, well the feeling of fear with that idea, it makes it feel like it would be death.

To go against the grain.

The what if’s run through your head like a broken record. (What’s a record? Just kidding…)

What if this happens? What if that happens? What if I fail?

This might happen. That might happen. You will likely fail. So what? What’s the worst that will happen?

Is the worst conceivable thing that could happen really that bad?

Only you can answer that. But, if you can imagine that horrible of a thing, you can also plan for it. You can plan your escape route if all hell breaks loose. And, if you fail, but your learn from it, and you pick the pieces back up and fix it, then was it so bad to begin with?

But it’s all an exercise anyway. Because who knows?

… You might actually succeed.

You might rise to the occasion.

You might actually make it happen.

It might take longer than expected. It might not look how you expected. You might (probably will) fail along the way. You probably will learn some things. You might get better. You might take some detours along the way…

But guess what. You could never look back in 20 years and wonder, “What if?”

Now, of course, timing is another part of the equation to consider.

Timing is always important.

It can be the right time or the wrong time for whatever.

If it’s the right time, it can be amazing.

But, if it’s the wrong time, it can be a disaster. But, then… you can test the timing beforehand.

You can evaluate the market.

You can evaluate your life situation.

You can evaluate everything beforehand. And, if you evaluate it, there are probably some key factors that will tell you whether it’s the right time or the wrong time.

But if you determine it is time, how do you actually get yourself to move into action?

How do you move through the fear?

How do you find the courage to go against the grain? The courage to be authentic? The strength to be confident in your decisions?

Where does that come from?

What does it mean to be authentic? To have courage? To be confident?

What does it mean to succeed or to fail?

What does it mean to be you?

Where do you find the strength and motivation to continue when the going gets rough, because you had the courage to be yourself and go against the grain?

Because it will. Because any time you go against the popular, there will be resistance. There will be push back. There will be struggle. People will want to bring you back down. You may even want to retreat.

But how do you pull yourself back up when chaos strikes? When everything goes in the opposite direction of how you wanted?

How do you remember to focus on the process and not the results? How do you find gratitude? How do you learn?

But then you’re back at the start. Back in the endless cycle of wondering where to go next. What step to take. The advice. The people telling you what to do.

The endless cycle of life: experiment, failure, learn, adapt, success and repeat.

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