Not Knowing is Okay.

Image result for looking into the distance wallpaper

“Brilliance in a scientist does not consist in being right more often but in being wrong about more interesting topics.”

We love to be right. And we all think we’re right, all the time. You can see this in Facebook comments and endless Twitter debates. People on the Internet will argue for days about politics, religion, or anything and everything else.

These online conversations seem to expose something about the human condition: we don’t like to be wrong. Someone telling us we are wrong about something is taken as a personal attack rather than just part of a conversation. 

There are plenty of reasons why we love to be right. It makes us feel good. It makes us feel like we’ve won or like we’re better than someone else intellectually.

Being right feeds our ego. And our ego never has an empty stomach so we just keep feeding it.

Being wrong, on the other hand, can make us feel insecure. Uncertainty is scary. Not knowing can make us feel lost or confused.

But what if being right isn’t all that? What if being wrong sometimes is okay? What if being wrong is actually a good thing?

Let’s do our best to look at being right from an objective standpoint. Let’s say you’re in a meeting and you’re discussing your company’s plans for a new hotel. You have the idea to build the hotel on a certain street, but one of your colleagues argues that that particular area of the city is not in high demand for a new hotel. You continue to go back and forth about the matter until you all come to an agreement.

What really matters in this situation? Does it matter whose idea is the right one? No, it matters which location would most benefit the company.

Point being: it’s okay to be wrong or to not know. It’s okay to submit and say “yeah, maybe you can do it better”or “you’re right your idea might be more effective.”

Being right is not important. Having the answer it not important. Doing the thing that is right (whether a moral decision or a practical one) is the most important thing.

Yes, being right feels good, but objectively it just doesn’t matter in most situations. Your goal should not be to be right, rather it should be to find out the best way to do a task and use those means in doing so.

Growing up going to Christian school I was taught to believe certain things. I was not to question these beliefs or ask questions, I was to simply believe. I was taught to have faith. During chapel services the pastor would often ask “if you died today do you know for sure that’s you’d go to heaven?”

While I tried to convince myself that my answer to his question was yes, I always had this thought process going on. How am I supposed to know for sure? Is God supposed to reveal it to me or appear in a dream or a bush on fire or something? 

As I was thinking about this I’d look around the room, wondering if anyone else felt the same way. While I never had the guts to ask, my assumption is that many of the kids in the room felt the exact same way, they, like myself, we’re just scared to admit it. They, like me, felt uncertain, yet we all acted like we knew our soul’s destination.

We all fear the unknown. We love to pretend like we have the answers. Having the answers is comfy and makes us feel good. Doubt feels nasty and annoying. But what if not knowing for sure was okay too? What if asking questions and not having answers was just another part of life?

This applies to all areas of the human experience, not just religious belief. Doubt is a virtue. Not knowing is powerful. If we never have doubts or ask questions, we will never learn or grow. Change begins with doubt. Change begins when we ask if there’s a better way to do something. If we never doubt, or never think we are wrong about something, we will never improve.

If we want to be successful at anything, we must be a student first. A student does not go into a class already knowing the material, a student goes into a class with humility knowing that the teacher is superior to them in the subject matter. For us to improve in life we must admit that we are not gods, there are things we must take the time to learn. There are things we don’t know or understand. When we learn to think in this way, to walk in humility and curious doubt, we can then begin to change and become the best versions of ourselves.

Advertisements

The Path Towards Authenticity and Finding my Artistic Voice

For the bulk of my blogging “career” I’ve found myself writing the type of articles I think other people want to read. I’ve been writing the sorts of blog posts that seem to get good amounts of traffic.

I have stolen (in an artistic sense) from other articles and writers that I respect or emulate. That is part of the writing process, gathering information and using the work of others to inspire yours. But I am at a point where I want to do this less. Now I want to find my own voice.

I’ve found myself trying so hard to be like other self-improvement writers. I just wanted to “make it.” Desiring to get a certain amount of views on my website or get a certain amount of shares on social media. Now I’ve realized that “making it” is pointless if you do so in an inauthentic way.

Allow me to explain myself.

I consider writing, even of the non-fiction genre, to be an art. Just as much of an art as painting, sculpting, or poetry.

Art is best done in an authentic and free flowing way, as an extension of the artist. Art is at its worst when it is mended based on market value or the attention-seeking of the artist.

Much of my writing in the last year or so has, in my current opinion, been driven by ego and/or insecurity.

I wanted to see my name on websites. 

I wanted to get click bait shares on social media.

I wanted to feel and look successful.

My writing was coming from this place of ego and validation-seeking, rather than a place of honest creativity and advice-giving.

This is probably a result of my maturity when it comes to blogging. I am still very new to the craft and have not yet found my artistic voice. I don’t really know who I am as a writer.

Despite this fact, the direction of this blog is going to change. I will be spending more time really finding topics that are more engaging and helpful. I’m going to put in the time and effort necessary to create a good product.

I ,in no way, regret anything I have written over the last few months, I do, however, feel like I’m in a new place as a person. I no longer think that an article about “5 Apps for College Students” is really helpful or needed on the internet anymore. If you want to find articles about helpful apps, just Google it, don’t waste your time on this site.

I’m no longer going to force content onto this blog. I probably won’t be posting every week anymore. I’ll only be posting when I write something I think is actually constructive.

If I’m honest, I’m not sure if I’m even qualified to give any of the advice I give. I still live with my parents, I don’t have a job, I’m in college (but my parents are paying for it), and I’m by no standard successful.

At the same time, I’ve experienced things most people my age have not. I’ve been to eight countries, I’ve read a good amount of books about a wide range of subjects, and I’ve experienced and worked through depression and anxiety for the bulk of my young life.

I’m not a self-help guru, a millionaire, or even a college graduate, I’m just some kid trying to find his way through life. Trying to find himself in a world that never fails to be baffling, for both good and bad reasons.

So, my dear reader, how is this article helpful to you at all?

Well, maybe it isn’t. Or maybe it is. I’m not going to let my insecurity about whether or not you like what I write to control me.

Maybe it would be helpful to ask yourself, as I have, am I being authentic in what I create? Am I doing what I do (blogging, business, school, etc.) because I want to or because I’m seeking some sort of validation?

Let’s, for a moment,  shift this conversation about authenticity out of the blogging world and into something more relatable.

I’ve been going to the gym off and on for about a year. When I do go, it’s often because I feel social pressure.

All my friends go to the gym.  

If I go I’ll be considered cool.

If someone asks if I work out, I can actually say yes. That should earn me some points, right?

If I decided that I wanted to go to the gym because I actually wanted to get in shape because I care about my health I’d probably go more consistently.

Point being: anything done for the sake of validation or attention is often done badly or falls apart when you fail to feel validated or receive attention from doing said thing.

Validation is vain. It is only when you begin to get it that you realize how empty it is.

People might like what you’re doing, people might praise you for what you’ve done, but if your heart and soul are not into what you’re doing you won’t feel good about it, at least not for a very long.

Validation works at first. Your ego grows and you begin to feel good about yourself. But eventually, you will realize that the good words of others don’t mean as much as you thought they did. You will come to a place where your conscious will tear apart everything that you do.

When you’re living in a non-authentic way, you often know it but you seldom admit it.

Admittance is the first step, and probably the hardest one. It hurts to admit your faultiness. To admit that you might not be doing things for the right reasons.

If you’re still struggling with this idea that authenticity might not be for you, let’s look at a few more examples.

When someone who is gay and decides to come out of the closet, they say that they feel free. They feel free because they can be who they are. They don’t have to hide or wear a mask anymore.

The same is to be said about people who come out about their mental illness. I have social anxiety. Although I haven’t explained it to my parents, I have had conversations about it with a friend and written about it on the Internet.

The more I’m open about my internal struggle with anxiety and depression, the more liberated I feel.

The more open and authentic we are, the easier it is for us to grow. Authenticity brings progress, in business and in relationships.

In recent memory, businesses have begun to become more transparent and public about their finances and business interactions in general.

Why?

Generally, it is because it makes companies more trustworthy. Customers can actually see where their money is going and what it is being used for.

Transparency always allows for a great level of trust. This is why I have written this blog post, I want to give my readers more trust towards me. I want to show them that I am doing what I think is right and that I will continue to write this way.

Maybe this blog post isn’t helpful to you. Maybe what I’m saying doesn’t really make any sense. And I’m totally okay with that.

My goal is to write well and write righteously. By that, I mean that I wish to write in a way that is both well formulated and with a backbone. Writing that comes from both my mind of mind’s and my soul of soul’s.

I’m on a mission to find my authentic voice. I am not there yet, and that’s fine. I don’t know what kind of writer I want to be, and I’m okay with that, and I hope you are too.

My hope is that this article was helpful to you. If it was, please keep the discussion going in the comments.

Thanks for reading.