Have you ever felt like you wanted answers and guidance, but all you received is more unknown?
Living in the mystery of the unknown is a challenge. The nervous system craves certainty. It wants to know where we’re going, how we’re going to get there, when we will arrive. It wants to control every step along the path.
To be with the unknown and to embrace the mystery is the ultimate test of trust: can you move forward without knowing the exact destination? Without knowing how you will get there?
Can you relinquish control?
I can be of two minds on this.
Action vs Strategy
On one hand, one step absent a coherent longer-term strategy seems pointless; a waste of effort.
We need aligned action. Strategic action. Consistent action.
We need a PLAN.
Absent a plan, it’s East to fall into the trap of mistaking motion for movement.
You believe that you’re doing something to move you forward when you’re simply running in place.
That inner voice likes to pop up to ask, where is this getting me?
No Action = Getting Stuck
The challenge is that this mindset creates the opportunity potential for this problem: in the absence of a full plan and the next actions lined up, you take no action.
Maybe it’s true that isolated action without more isn’t effective to achieve your outcome.
And, maybe it’s also true that isolated action will move you forward in a different way.
This is the growth opportunity.
The Power of Taking the Wrong Step
The invitation is to take one step even if it won’t lead to your outcome.
Even if it’s the “wrong” step.
Even if it sends you down the “wrong” path.
Even if it leads to the “wrong” destination.
Not every step must be on a path that leads to a destination. Sometimes just moving helps break up the energy that is stuck.
Dancing vs Walking
Recently I had an insight that perhaps we can think of it like dancing.
When you dance, you’re moving, but you’re not “getting anywhere.” The external observer sees you start and end in the same place.
But dancing feels good. Moving to the music causes energy to flow through the body in a new way. Dancing moves stagnant energy.
Implementing one action, even if you don’t think it’s the “right” action, even if you have no actions planned for after it, moves energy within you internally.
You did that one thing. Now you can do another one thing. And then another. And another.
The Discomfort of Something New
It feels “wrong,” of course. It feels like a waste of energy and resources to take action that isn’t calculated to reach an outcome.
There’s a physical discomfort in the body to do something that feels so purposeless.
But that “discomfort” is simply the feeling of moving and being in a different way. The same way walking barefoot on gravel feels different from walking barefoot on sand or on the floor.
Anything new feels uncomfortable. We may say it feels wrong but we don’t know what it’s supposed to feel like.
We call it “discomfort” because it’s foreign to our experience. It’s not really “discomfort;” it’s just different.
The Truth About Strategy
The belief that a strategic plan will lead to a certain outcome is based on an illusion that we have control over the outcome.
The truth is that even when an action is strategically planned to lead to a certain outcome, there’s no guarantee that it will lead to that outcome. When we acknowledge and accept that we have no control over the outcome, then we see that taking isolated action is no different from taking strategic action.
Nothing is guaranteed.
Even with the most carefully planned actions, the outcome is still unknown.
We’re always in the mystery of the unknown. So we might as well embrace it.