“I Don’t Know.”
I strongly suggest you give it a little re-visit.
Not to give it the ol' heave-ho, or to banish it from your life.
First things first, it is totally okay to not know.
There was a time when man didn’t know how to make
or origami cranes;
plus there was a time before you knew allllll about the intricacies of The Walking Dead.
The point is, there was always a time when we don’t know something.
Living in the unknown is more than just okay, it is to be reveled in, made peace with, if not downright celebrated! The fact is we simply cannot always have answers for everything, all the time, the second we feel we require them. Sometimes we have to “let go and let God” ...or some such.
However, living in a constant state of unknowns without a scrap of personal agency or hope?
Oh dear dear dear—buckle up for a long ride to IGNORANT-AND-BORING-VILLE.
|Yeah. Don't be this cat.|
[“I Don’t Know” can be about being lazy.]
Our nomadic ancestors had to conserve energy to compete for scarce resources and to fight or flee enemies and predators. Look behind you: is there a tiger chasing you? NO? Then consider getting a grip.
Enjoying some down-time, recovering from a bout of stress or hard work, or indulging in some well-deserved rest is ONE THING. Laziness is quite another.
And when I say another I mean something akin to a Jabba-the-Hut-like-creature picking his nose while waiting for answers to just… COME ALONG.
Or for someone to just DO IT FOR YOU.
Or for things to just…FIX THEMSELVES.
Or just generally…'SCHMEH, WHATEVS.'
Laziness is VERY different from genuine exhaustion. If your body requires rest, by all means rest! But if your psychology is telling your brain and body that you “can’t be asked…?” Different story.
Synonyms for laziness are indolence and sloth (wow, those sound great). While 'sloth' has more moral and spiritual overtones, 'indolence' derives from the Latin INDOLENTIA, ‘without pain’ or ‘without taking trouble.’
“A person is being lazy if she is able to carry out some activity that she ought to carry out, but is disinclined to do so because of the effort involved. Instead, she carries out the activity perfunctorily; or engages in some other, less strenuous or less boring activity; or remains idle. In short, she is being lazy if her motivation to spare herself effort trumps her motivation to do the right or expected thing.”Don't be a lazy-face.
Get motivated and get over your lazy.
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[“I Don’t Know” can be about lacking curiosity.]
There is nothing more toxic (or less sexy) than apathy. Inquiry, Evidence, and Argument are the basis for Curiosity; observed phenomena and logically valid conclusions are then drawn from the evidence. All of these are the powerful tools we use to understand WHAT IS.
Who invented the printing press?
...You don't know?
... Well you know who does know? The interwebs.
Use your curiosity, and then your thumbs and press “SEARCH.” In addition to Googling LIKEABOSS, I enjoy the time-honored traditions of:
calling someone and talking it out
getting real quiet and just meditating for 20 minutes or so
going to this magical place called The Library
contacting an actual expert
And yes, it may take some time, and require some patience, but to find, you must seek. If you wallow around and hope it will take care of itself, you might get lucky (and some people do), but odds are you could wake up at 85 and wonder where the hell the awesome life you were supposed to live went exactly.
|WTF I mean YAAAAY!|
[“I Don’t Know” can be about feeling incapable.]
Relishing in, and making peace with the unknown is one thing, feeling anxious about what’s next is a whole other bag of burritos. Let's think of all the things (however “ordinary”) you ARE capable of doing:
listing Pixar movies in chronological order
having a sense of direction
installing ceiling fans (with or without a ceiling fire)
Hey! Look at that! My my, aren't you good at things!
In the therapeutic practice of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (also known as DBT) one of the core skills discussed to build self-esteem is active practice of achieving Mastery. Because DBT is an evidenced-based treatment module, its efficacy is based on a collection of facts. The theory is this: if it is a FACT that you can vacuum, give directions and make salad, chances are you can do other stuff too.
Psychologist Aysha Ives says:
"Do something that makes you feel good and increases your level of competency each day. When you feel good about who you are, your abilities, and your accomplishments, then you’re more likely to use Wise Mind during stressful situations. This means that your vulnerability for letting your emotions control you significantly decreases."
You are capable.
Practice some form of mastery every day (no matter how insignificant your mastery may feel to you).
Soon you'll realize it too.
Gain confidence about your awesome-ness.
Become masterful about other things.
...Because you are innately capable.
4. Decide to figure it out already.
[“I don’t know” can be about a lack of agency.]
When you Decide to figure it out, decide with a capital “D.” If you really want to “get on with it already,” define exactly what may provide some clarity, then make it a goal like any other goal and do not stop until you get there! Sometimes this looks like:
middle of the night phone-calls / emails / walks
talking to your cat like she cares (or miiiight talk back)
vision-boarding 'til there isn’t a single glue-stick left in Queens
going for the kind of jog that looks like you are running from SATAN
making that appointment / going on that date / cleaning that attic already
Sometimes you just need a NAP.
Sometimes you need to go to Siberia.
…and I’ve done both of those too. And turned out just fine. The world will still be there when you wake up, or wake up.
5. Don't Pretend
Listen, in our society is simply not "allowed" to NOT know, many of us pretend we do, when we don't.
Don't do that.
Pretending to know is silly.
For it is, in fact, one of the fastest paths to ignorance.
Think about it:
If you pretend you know,
then you are not free to ask (because you are pretending to know)
and if you cannot genuinely ask
then you can never truly, know.
Stop that. Just admit you don't know, ask, and then make that knowledge yours! KAPOW!
6. Re-frame the Words.
[“I don’t know” can easily be changed!]
Because we are powerful creatures whose thoughts and words create our realities, if you walk around declaring “I don’t know,” The Universe will take your word for it and fill your head with cat litter instead of insight. In order to obtain the clarity you desire, replace this statement with something more along the lines of:
“Clarity is coming to me, it always does!”
“I’m so grateful because knowledge is zooming toward me!”
“I suggest you step aside because whatever this new idea is, it’s going to be SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDTIOUS!”
Or my very favorite,
“I don’t know…YET.”
Why do I like that one? Because it admits that at this moment, you do not know.
And it implies that you are okay with that
...but fully trust that you are capable of finding out with a little patience, faith, and elbow grease.
It doesn't have to be a terror-fest.
As the Serenity Prayer teaches us…
May you have the serenity to accept the things you cannot change,
the courage to change the things you can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
So here's to serenity, in the face of the Unknown.