This particular statement passes through my head countless times throughout my waking hours and often in my dreams. Everything reminds me that I haven’t got a clue. I don’t know what to do in most situations, how to solve problems, or even how to handle this lack of certainty. With every new piece of information that filters in between my ears I encounter a six digit multiple of things that leave me feeling stupid. And I really hate feeling stupid. Who like’s that? Raise of hands.
If your hands are firmly planted on your mouse edging towards the red “X” located in the upper right hand corner of the browser or a finger stuck up your nose, then i’ll accept that as an agreement.
So, we’re not alone. There’s a lot of shit we don’t know, and more we don’t know we don’t know, and haven’t got a clue how to go about knowing it.
It may be a small world but there’s more than enough input to fill a millennia of lifetimes. It’s bound to happen that we don’t know. And it’s likely we might feel stupid about it the process.
Can you think of a time when you were having a conversation with someone and you’re already struggling, desperately clinging on by the coattails, and they throw in a word that contains more syllables than you can count and you kinda get the feeling that it’s important because the ball gets tossed to you and your whole reputation hangs on the kind of reaction you produce? Your eyes glaze over and you feel like fainting just to get out of the situation. This is a particular problem for me, anyway. My vocabulary is about as wide as an ants stride and less sophisticated than a wine and pop cocktail.
I decided to resolve this issue by reading more, immediately looking up words if i could, and carrying a little notebook around with me to write down every word I came across that I didn’t know, filling in the details and reviewing a page at random. I could feel my brain getting bigger. Also, I decided that I was better off asking what something meant if it wasn’t appropriate to bust out the Webster and find it on my own. Sure, they may have an instant ego boost as they’re spouting out the definition to the lowly peasant before them, but if they had half a brain they would recognize the courage I displayed in openly admitting my limitations. and at least I’m not a bull-shittah.
It’s been a while since I’ve done this and it was looking back at this behavior that prompted me to think about this post. Obviously there are a couple issues here I would love to touch upon at a later date, namely:
A: feeling stupid and embarrassed by what other people might think (when in actuality no one cares and they can only think about themselves); and
B: Stopping something when it’s working..like exercise, although some stop from burn out, lack of results, etc.
but later, kiddies…later.
The purpose of this was to resolve in my head what to do when you haven’t got a clue. I was reading an article written by Steve Pavlina at his Blog Site entitled ” “I don’t know how” is not a valid excuse”.
My first reaction was “You arrogant little CENSORED“. It came across so disconnected and harsh to me.
But then..i read it again, chatted about it, and I realized it made a lot of sense. Maybe I wouldn’t have expressed it entirely the same way, but the general vibe is totally accurate.
It may not be nice being spoken to in that way but sometimes it’s the only way to shape up, put on the big girl pants and get to work.
In the end of the article he suggests instead of saying (or thinking!) “I don’t know how” you replace it with “I am learning”. I think that is the most valuable advice. There is absolutely no shame in not having a clue, right? Whether you are institutionally educated or not, the first step is acknowledging and accepting this fact and then taking action, making small strides towards your goal everyday.
What I think Is the most regrettable and loathsome attitude is knowing this and ending there.
(ok, I DO THIS A LOT! and boy, I deserve to feel stupid for it) I can only imagine the frustration people must feel trying to help and motivate others who simply aren’t willing to put in any effort.
I admit, I have had thoughts where I think “oh if I had done this, things would be different/ better, and it’s too late” or “it’s because of ______ that I am in this situation”.
And usually I get pretty depressed as a result.
The fact of the matter is that I am right here, right now and I have an opportunity to move towards my dream of doing whatever the hell it is I dream of doing.
Beating yourself up, making excuses, or making yourself a victim of others or yourself doesn’t actually help you succeed. What it does is allow you to do nothing, which may be fine for some, just don’t expect to win any brownie points and people are highly unlikely to do much for you, nevermind the universe!
So when you haven’t got a clue about what to do, simply consider your life being exactly as it is until you die. If you don’t much care for how that looks to you, then maybe today is the day you start doing something to change it. You can do it!
I smell brownies.