Friday, July 22, 2005


you know exactly what to do

i was having a conversation with a friend recently about trying to give another friend a hand with some struggles she was having. "i just don't know what to do" i kept saying. his response, "bullshit - you know exactly what to do." this jarred me a bit to say the least, but it also got me thinking. maybe i do know exactly what to do.

for the next five minutes he listened while i ran through all the ideas i'd had about helping this friend out. i thought through and came to the conclusion that some made sense and others didn't. and by the end of it, amazingly enough, i did know exactly what to do. in fact i had three action steps i was ready to take.

this experience really opened my eyes about the reality of what we know. that is, i think we know a ton more than we give ourselves credit for. ever have this experience: an idea floats into your mind, within seconds your inner censors and critics go to work on it and before half a minute has passed you've thrown it out as no good. we do it all the time.

but what if we made the opposite assumption. what if we assumed that not only were our ideas good, but that when faced with a challenge we actually do know exactly what to do.

now i'm not saying that we are all experts on all things. in fact sometimes knowing exactly what to do means that you know you need to consult the experts, but the point is you are actually smart, capable and a brilliant problem solver. we all are. we couldn't make it through a single day of our lives without solving hundreds of problems, from big to small.

so consider turning off the inner critics and trusting your ideas. if they need polishing, ask a friend or colleague to listen while you consider them.

just think what you might be able to accomplish if you decided that you do know exactly what to do.

dream big,

I have always found this to be very true.
This reminds me of one of the basic precepts in improv comedy: don't edit yourself. You always go with your immediate gut reaction.

The fact is, every journey begins with a single step. That first foray may be in the wrong direction but, early on, it's fixable. I've found that, in life, as in improv, indecision and inaction is more often fatal than making a small mistake.
thanks for the great comment...i love using the lens of improv to think about life. brilliant.
your thoughts made me think of one of my favorite story people stories:
Wish for your deepest desires, she said & when I asked if they'd come true, she said they always do, so you might as well get them out in the open while you're still young enough to correct any serious mistakes.
thanks for reading,
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