When I was little, I loved school. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I thought school was a colossal waste of time. I was a nerd. I liked books and math. I didn’t have a lot of friends. That was okay by me. Just leave me alone to do my math homework now so I don’t have to do it later. Don’t talk to me during “free time” because the people in this book are more interesting than you anyway.
What I did like about school was having the right answer. I liked being able to answer the question the teacher asked. I liked the circled number on the top of my test. I liked being right. (Yes, I was that kid you probably hated. Unless you were that kid too.)
That’s horrible preparation for life.
In life, you don’t have the answer. I was driving the other day and mulling over a question about life. “Do I do X or Y? What is the right answer?” That was the wrong question. “What should I try next?” is closer to the right question. I’m so caught up in being correct or getting my proverbial “gold star” that I forget that nobody but me cares if I am correct, and life doesn’t hand out gold stars.
The question I asked instead of “What should I try next?” was “What do other people do?” That question is equally horrible. Nobody has the right answer. We are all just trying things.
The key is to learn from what you try.
I’d like to say I had this great “a-ha!” moment when I realized that everyone is guessing, everyone feels like they are floundering sometimes, and everyone is scared to get it wrong. Maybe I did. But then that moment passed. The stress of finding the right answer came back. I had to pull myself back again (and again) from the mental spiral I found myself in.
Maybe you try something and you don’t like the result. You can try something else. Unfortunately as humans we like routine and staying in our comfort zone (I blame school for this as well). So we will try something, not like the result, and decide to live with the result instead of trying something else next time.
So what can I try next? And what will I try after that?
I don’t have the answer. But I can keep looking.
What will you try next?