Us humans are such whores for certainty.
It’s disgustingly, really. Always wanting proof and guarantees.
But the fact of the matter is that rarely do we ever have all the information we need to move throughout life with certainty.
And that’s the gamble of life. If you’re lucky, you learn to live with it. Or, you don’t – and you spend your life afraid. (I know which camp I prefer. Do you?)
Still, life is long as is the journey ahead. It’s unrealistic to expect yourself to travel too far down a path – especially a treacherous one – without mile markers of validation.
Just ask yourself. How far are you willing to travel down a road if you’re uncertain you’re headed in the proper direction?
I know my answer. Even my pride can’t conceal the truth about the uneasiness that lurks in uncharted territory.
When you start down a new path, you will have doubts. Period. That’s your amygdala in your big ol’ oversized ape brain warning you about your own impending doom. “Get back to the heard!” It cries out to you. “It’s safer there!”
So how can you expect to advance knowing full well you’ll never have complete information – that you’ll always lack perfect certainty?
Honestly, I don’t have the answers. You could pray about it. Meditate on it. Or drive yourself mad questioning your decisions (which does not sound like fun).
Or you could stay alert for signs. This is my best recommendation.
If you’re like me, an over-analytical muckety-muck who loves perfect spreadsheet models and contingency plans, then I have bad news. You’re going to be uncomfortable – a lot. If you want to maintain your sanity, get out of your own head.
Models don’t contain the answers you’re looking for. Indicators of success are often less concrete than we expect them to be. They tend to be more “mystical” in nature. For several reasons.
One, when you lack complete information, your brain begins to run simulations in your subconscious. It needs to work things out. Your psyche needs justifications for your actions. When it lacks this, you lose your tether to reality and go crazy.
Two, as your brain searches for explanations, if you allow yourself to, you’ll begin to project meaning onto things outside yourself.
That strange combination of searching for answers and endowing our own experiences with meaning enables us to validate the reality we’ve chosen to manifest.
I’ll share a couple examples from my own life.
Earlier this year, my wife and I moved back across the country to Oklahoma – where we grew up and our families still live. We never expected to move back, let alone want to.
But we’d been attempting to solve several problems in our own lives:
- Cities are no longer desirable places to live.
- We missed being so far away from family (especially as we think about the future and kids).
- We enjoy traveling, but try to juggle visiting our family and taking time for ourselves (which was becoming a regular game of tradeoffs).
- Property value in high-population density areas has been skyrocketing far beyond actual market values.
- And many more.
At some point, out of the blue, the idea of moving back home overtook me. I cannot explain it. But it became obvious this was what we were supposed to do. To boot, it offered a solution to all of the problems I was attempting to solve.
Once we finally committed to the plan, I felt a sense of peace I’ve not felt in years. I could attempt to explain it away as resolution. But it’s more than that. It was an almost overwhelming sense of being in the right place at the right time.
Then, only a couple months after we made the move, my dad had a heart attack.
Rather than 800 miles, I was only 8 minutes away. Which enabled me to go spend the day with him in the hospital.
I cannot imagine anywhere else I would’ve rather been at that moment. But the revelation of it all almost brought me to tears. I’m dead serious.
I only share this to illustrate the power of signals beyond our intellect – and to assure you those signals are present. They’re all around us. Waiting to be detected. Especially when you’re uncertain about the path you’re on.
Even if you’re not a person of faith, hopefully you can understand that beyond the limits of our own understanding, there is much going on (even inside our own heads).
Whether you call it God, or your unknown self, or your Ego, or your Muse, or something else entirely, acknowledging this “divine frequency” exists will unlock the world around you.
It’s difficult enough to blaze your own trail without constantly beating yourself up over whether you’re doing the right thing or not.
Searching for signals has worked for me. (Even if you believe they’re self-concocted.) These signals give us a story to buy into. And sometimes all us shit-for-brains humans need is a good story.